Green

Google gives energy group $2.65M to update our outdated power grid

Not content with completely reshaping the way you get information and navigate the world, Google wants to change the way you consume power, too.

The company announced on Monday that it has donated $2.65 million to the Energy Foundation, an organization focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Google energy counsel Michael Terrell said the organization is essential to updating our aging energy grid. “The challenge is that the rules governing electricity distribution were written for last century’s grid,” he wrote on the Google Green Blog.

Many of these rules prevent consumers from easily accessing their personal energy usage metrics — something that Google is heavily invested in changing.

Terrell says the investment will focus on three key areas, all of which are aimed at, above all else, freeing up information:

  • Smarter electricity rates that encourage consumers to be more efficient, shift their electricity use to times when it’s cheaper, and produce their own on-site energy;
  • Access to electricity markets for consumers and other businesses so they can be compensated for cutting energy use at key times; and
  • Open data policies that give customers access to their own energy data, which they can use or share with third parties they select, promoting better energy management tools and services.

This has been a busy month for Google on the energy-investment front. Last week it made a $200 million investment in a 161-megawatt Texas wind farm. To date, Google has invested over $1 billion in clean energy, and it hasn’t given any signs it plans to slow that investment anytime soon.