Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Google aims to help utilities improve energy services: Bloomberg

Iain Morris
June 17, 2014
 
Internet giant Google is working on developing hardware and software tools to improve the management of power lines and other energy infrastructure, according to a recent report from Bloomberg.

The company’s Energy Access team is said to be developing technology that could lead to an overhaul of the utility industry by allowing power grids to operate more flexibly and efficiently.

According to sources quoted by Bloomberg, Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) – which itself spends vast sums on electricity to maintain its data centers – remains unimpressed with the efforts of utility businesses so far to address energy-related challenges.

“They recognize there is a huge wide-open space and that the utility companies are not stepping up to the plate,” Steven Chu, a former secretary of the US Department of Energy, is quoted as saying during a recent interview. “They see a huge market opportunity.”

The reports follow Google’s $3.2 billion takeover of smart thermostat maker Nest Labs earlier this year, and its injection of funding into Atlantic Grid Development, an initiative that aims to improve electricity delivery in the state of New Jersey.

Google is also reported to have invested more than $1 billion in various energy power projects around the world as it looks to capitalize on growing interest in energy-management services.

The internet giant’s Energy Access business has been set up to explore ways of providing “clean, low-cost electricity”, according to the company, and Google is also said to hold a number of patents that relate specifically to the efficient usage of electricity by electric vehicles, batteries and household appliances.

As Bloomberg points out, Google is one of a number of high-profile technology companies that sees opportunities in this area.

ABB (Zurich, Switzerland), Siemens (Munich, Germany) and Alstom (Levallois-Perret, France), for instance, are all developing tools to help utilities integrate renewable energy sources into their services and respond more quickly to fluctuations in energy demand at certain times of the day or year.
 
Other News
 
PEP Stations and Axeda Charge Ahead with Remote Monitoring and Reporting
 
PEP Stations needed a remote monitoring and reporting solution for its electric vehicle charging stations, which served building tenants.  
Numerex M2Mdirector Delivers Cost Savings and Safety Benefits to the Oil & Gas Industry
Managing marginal well operations is labor intensive. Pumpers drive to each tank daily to check water and oil levels and equipment, including drilling motors. If levels are too high, pumps must be manually shut down to avoid spills and incurring fines and cleanup costs.