Lately, when Google.org has gotten involved with the workings of Capitol Hill, it has called for transparency and open standards, and promoted its PowerMeter tool. Today Dan Reicher, Google.org’s director of climate and energy initiatives, put another Google initiative — that of enhanced geothermal systems — in the Congressional spotlight. Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a hearing on the climate and energy bill now being debated in Congress, Reicher called for lawmakers to help clean energy projects through the so-called Valley of Death (something he also wants Google.org to do with its cleantech fund) and to “provide money for EGS technology beyond the stimulus.”
When Google.org invested $10.25 million in EGS technology last summer, Reicher said in an announcement that the technology “could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet.” As we noted at the time, Google also said it would use the funds to push forward a policy agenda for geothermal energy. Reicher did that today, prodding the committee to keep the U.S. from slipping behind Australia and the EU in developing the technology.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Google testimony without a shoutout for empowering consumers with energy data (and thus creating an opportunity for Google to manage and monetize it). Reicher called for the Committee to “push the DOE to make large investments in smart meter deployment,” and to back technology and devices that give electricity users a more accurate picture of their electricity usage “in as near real time as possible.” Like, say, devices that use PowerMeter, which Google aims to make available to consumers by year’s end.