Interesting developments this week for energy efficiency prospects with both Oracle and Google entering the fray of the green grid business. Oracle now boasts an end to end offering for Utilities so they can optimize resources and better manage sustainability performance. This includes everything from network load analysis to mobile repairs to advanced metering infrastructure. Oracle claim in a recent survey, the vast majority of utilities customers want much more information about fuel burn in the home by device and time of day etc. so they can better manage consumption. However, only 16% of the Utilities surveyed had even begun to implement smart grid technologies.
Back in February Google announced it was jumping into the smart grid metering game - obviously tons of capability but little depth of industry experience and partnerships. This week Google started to put this to rights announcing a host of industry co innovation partners across North America & India including Reliance Energy in India, Toronto Hydro Electric & San Diego Gas & Electric.
With a combination of a future low carbon regulatory regime on the horizon and the lure of stimulus dollars, this business is too good to be left out of. The race is on to form the most powerful partnerships and establish standards in order to have a good future presence in this growing market. The Utilities are under pressure to catch up on investment in smarter infrastructure to make the public grids more energy efficient than at present as well as to manage consumption habits through smarter, variable pricing and to provide better information for home users to manage conservation.
This is good news for sustainability truly but it also raises the pressure threshold on both Google & Oracle when it comes to their own sustainability management arrangements. Watch for Oracle and Google to play catch up & we may even soon see both companies publish their own full CO2 footprint as well as set reduction targets just like their customers. We'll likely too see publication of GRI standard sustainability reports. And for Google this may well mean an advancement of the corporate environmental strategy even beyond the goat herd.