Google has announced a partnership with General Electric (GE) which will see the two companies cooperate on policy and technology solutions around electricity generation, transmission and distribution. The deal will see the development of a so-called “smart grid” that can prioritize energy efficiency, use of environmentally-friendly sources such as enhanced geothermal systems and support electric vehicles.
Both companies will apparently combine their analytic and technical skills to push for changes in US energy policy, that will “bring electricity from renewable sources to consumers and … build a smart electricity grid that will empower utilities and consumers to manage energy more efﬁciently and save money.” Initially the partnership will be between just GE and Google, but they will eventually open it up to other like-minded organizations.
For the consumer, a smart grid will supposedly mean access to real-time energy use statistics, more flexibility in where power is sourced (for instance the choice between fossil fuels and green energy production) and the control to take advantage of cheaper energy at different times, i.e. at night. More details here [pdf link].