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Home News Power Sector News Google Power meter software - an energy conservation initiative from google

Google Power meter software - an energy conservation initiative from google

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Google Power meterThe Google PowerMeter software will analyse the consumption information captured by "smart meters", and translate it into easy-to-understand information to help people see where they could cut back. Users will be able to monitor the PowerMeter through their computers and other web-enabled devices using a special widget embedded on their personalised iGoogle homepage.

The Google PowerMeter is currently in development, and is being tested among select members of Google's own staff before eventually being introduced to the wider public.It needs access to an advanced energy meter, known as a "smart meter", which is capable of giving detailed information about power consumption.

There are currently around 40 million smart meters in use around the world, although energy companies plan to install some 100 million more in the next few years, according to Google.If 5.3 million people used the new tool and cut back their electricity consumption by 10%, they would save the equivalent of a gigawatt of power - enough to power a large city, Kirsten Olsen Cahill, a program manager with Google said.

The electricity-monitoring project is also consistent with Google's goal of organizing all the world's information, Cahill
said. Getting it to work, of course, will require aligning the interests of government, utilities and manufacturers of things
like sensors for electricity meters. That is even before consumers start using it.

Google.org carries out several such "ecosystem" ventures. Its "Predict and Prevent" project, for example, is a disease-eradication program involving health ministries, international agencies and private sector drug and health equipment
companies. Closer to the metering project's goal of reducing energy use, Google.org is active in a project it calls "REC," with a stated goal of producing renewable energy for less than the cost of carbon fuels. The organization has made investments in both wind and geothermal energy equipment companies.

Google.org receives 1% of Google's profits and equity, as well as the working time of many Google engineers. They were among the initial 30 individuals to test the iGoogle electricity gadget.

In addition to improving the world with PowerMeter, Google also might soften criticisms of its own dramatic energy use.
Computer servers now account for over 2% of total U.S. energy demand. Google, which uses enormous amounts of energy to power its data centers, locates those parts of the business in areas like Washington's Columbia River hydroelectric grid, where juice is cheap. Google has reportedly sought exemption from sales tax on electricity use.

Ed Lu, a member of Google's engineering team, said that the company has been campaigning to force electricity suppliers to provide consumers with more detailed information about their home electricity use.He wrote on Google's blog: "In a world where everyone had a detailed understanding of their home energy use, we could find all sorts of ways to save energy and lower electricity bills.

"It may not sound like much, but if half of America's households cut their energy demand by 10 per cent, it would be the equivalent of taking eight million cars off the road."

Mr Lu said that Google's mission was to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.He said the company was working on new ways to provide consumers and utilities with real-time energy information, and bring America's "1950s-era electricity grid into the digital age".

Source- Telegraph.co.uk


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