A few days ago I stumbled across an article on Wired by Peter Waldman about Google’s and GE’s plans for the future of electricity in the US. The whole article is a bit of a read but I’ll try to sum it up for you:
0: The time is right; other players who used to invest into “green engery projects” (Wachovia, Lehman Brothers) have disappeared while the issue is at the heart of Obama’s Stimulus Package.
1: Google would like to expand the US power-grid to a decentralised network where energy is produced not in big remote facilities any more and transported via mile-long high voltage lines but instead by a large number of rather independent, small “green” producers nearby. Furthermore it would like to give the consumer constant information about the amount of energy available = the price of the energy.
2: Google would like to make our homes “energy-smart” so that the appliances/consumers at your home know when to power up and down and respond automatically to changes of the price of energy. This means that the batteries of your car might be charged during the night when the price is down to 0,05, will stop when the price reaches 0,1 for some reason and might even decharge some of the energy back into the grid once the price has topped 0,3. And yes, GE would deliver the hardwear and Google the software/code.
This all somehow remindes me of Lessig; “It’s all code” or may I rephrase it “Yes, it’s the code, stupid“