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Washington plugs into the smart grid

Just one week after launching Google's energy information campaign, we kicked off our first joint smart grid event with GE, a larger clean energy collaboration we announced last fall. Our timing was fortuitous; the event took place just as President Obama signed an historic economic stimulus bill that includes $11 billion to modernize the electricity grid.

Getting energy information into the hands of consumers requires reworking the electricity grid to make it smarter. At yesterday's event, hosted in Google's Washington office, experts explored what the fundamental elements of a smarter grid should be -- from empowering consumers with information, tools, and choices to manage their energy use, to creating an open system that encourages innovation, to enabling a massive scale up of renewable energy sources and plug-in vehicles. We also explored the government's role in accelerating these efforts. Our panelists were enthusiastic about the opportunity created by the stimulus, but also noted the government's challenge of getting the money out the door in an effective and efficient manner.

Some highlights from the event:

  • GE's film clip highlighting a smart grid project in Oklahoma
  • An appearance by Carol Browner, President Obama's senior energy official in the White House, who noted with delight the packed crowd of over 450 people
  • Former astronaut and current Googler, Ed Lu, making the case for open standards and user access to energy information on our technology panel
  • Our very own Dan Reicher shamelessly punning that "we want to help build a fridge to the 21st century," a play on Bill Clinton's '96 campaign mantra
To stay plugged into our energy information campaign and learn about developments along the road to a smarter grid, be sure to join our Google Group.

UPDATE: Watch the event video on YouTube.

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