Google Joins Smart Grid Group


drsgGoogle said this morning that it had joined Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG, formerly DRAM, the Demand Response and Advanced Metering Coalition), suggesting that the search engine giant is increasingly looking into managing energy information. The coalition also said this morning it has added energy management companies CPower (formerly ConsumerPowerline), Conservation Services Group and Corporate Systems Engineering.

The coalition already includes a long roster of well known companies selling into the smart grid industry like Comverge (s COMV), eMeter, EnerNOC (s ENOC), IBM (s IBM), Itron (s ITRI), Landis + Gyr, and Silver Spring Networks. DRSG, founded in 2001, is also just one of several trade groups that are looking to work on policy issues, and provide information about technologies that can make the power grid smarter. Others include the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition, which was founded by IBM and focuses on utility groups, the GridWise Alliance, which includes a long list of power generators and technology vendors, and Silver Spring Network’s own alliance of technology partners.

Google’s (s GOOG) addition to the smart grid group is significant, because as Google increasingly invests money into the energy industry, it has started to look into ways it can use its history of managing the information of the Internet in the energy space. In September, Google and conglomerate GE (s GE) announced a partnership to collaborate on energy policy and technology, including pushing for a smarter electricity grid, cleaner power generation and greener transportation.

Managing energy information could actually be Google’s most significant contribution to technology that can fight climate change and could result in real revenues. Google’s background in software development and information technology, and its strong connection to consumers, could enable it to develop technology that could help consumers cut energy consumption. And as part of that GE partnership Google said it is looking into designing such tools. In early October, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told an audience in San Francisco, “[T]o the degree that we can be in the information businesses or communications businesses about energy and its impact on the world, we are clearly going to be there.”


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