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Google seeks to transform century-old US utility industry

Published time: June 11, 2014 09:56
AFP Photo / Joel Saget

AFP Photo / Joel Saget

Google, already the world’s most popular search engine and dominant player in retail, entertainment, education, and even self-driving cars, now wants to revamp the US energy industry. It is looking to make the delivery of electricity more efficient.

Bloomberg News reported that Google is planning to tap into America’s more than $360 billion power market. The company is in the early stages of developing and building software and hardware that will better manage the effective flow of energy to homes and businesses.

The US is the world’s third largest energy market in the world, but transmission and delivery methods of electricity are antiquated.

“They recognize there is a huge wide-open space and that the utility companies are not stepping up to the plate,” Steven Chu, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, said at an energy conference in California in May, as quoted by Bloomberg.

“They see a huge market opportunity,” Chu added.

Google has been posting vacancies on its website geared towards candidates who will help the company “fundamentally change the world of power”, one listing said.

Google, which receives most of its revenue from ads, is looking for ways to diversify income, and has been working on several projects including a car that drives itself and a partnership with Android TV, to have a more secure source of income than selling ad space.

The California-based company’s latest quarterly results were strong, but disappointing revenue highlighted the vulnerability of ad sales. Year on year revenue increased 19 percent, but its income of $15.4 billion was about $15 million short of anticipated results from analysts.

Google itself consumes a lot of energy, and has long been a proponent of clean and efficient energy solutions. This year Google paid $3.2 billion to acquire Nest Labs, a digital-thermostat company, and is also involved in Atlantic Grid

Development LLC, which delivers energy to the state of New Jersey.

Google has parked more than $1 billion in environmentally friendly power projects, both in the US and abroad, including renewables such as wind and solar.

Another project Google has picked up on is the idea of solar roadways, an idea to replace concrete roads, parking lots, and sidewalks with energy-producing solar panels. Google chose the mom and pop start up project to be one of their Moonshot projects in May 2013.

Comments (3)


DoAskDoTell 11.06.2014 20:05

QE banksters' attempt to gobble up the competitions in the age of Monopolies/Oligopoli es (fights among the billionaires for the top 10 whatever lists)

Expo nential usury/finance costs/ engineered financial "crisis"=& gt; class wars on middle class

Googl e to diversifications into other already established markets and hopefully new ones... when ads revenue goes down (along with risks of Obama's war on "net neutrality") & sitting on hoarding QE cash


Erik Trete 11.06.2014 12:09

Here we go again with the 'smart grid' mantra. This mantra has been around for decades. Pretty much it boils down to 'load leveling' to cut down on expensive peak power. Of course the only way to really effect peak power use is to modify consumer behavior. BUT while Utilities can save big $$, individual consumers see only pennies each in exchange for significant inconvenience or large outlays of $$. I don't see google doing any better then all the others that have been down this road already.


vincent holloway 11.06.2014 11:12

Was wondering what was going to happen after the meeting last week.

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