Google Frees The Smart Grid Airwaves: What Else Is Up Its Sleeve ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Cleantech.com has a look at Google's involvement in communicating smart grid data over "white space" TV spectrum - Google Frees The Smart Grid Airwaves: What Else Is Up Its Sleeve?

Divining Google’s intentions in the energy management world is a bit like guessing the identity of an individual in a portrait as each little section is revealed piece by piece. You get a chin here, an ear there, you begin to make out the jawline, and then, ah, there it is…

Between PowerMeter, the company’s wholesale energy trading license, and investments in a handful of cleantech startups such as high altitude wind-catcher Makani Power, I haven’t quite had my “aha” moment. However, we did, today, get one more piece of the puzzle.

It was announced that Google is working alongside Spectrum Bridge to help Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative & Telecommunications deploy an AMI system that makes use of unlicensed TV “white space” to send energy data. This white space spectrum was made available by the national analog-to-digital transition of broadcast television; the transmission of signals over these airwaves seems to be particularly effective in rural areas where topography can be a serious challenge to deploying certain wireless networks. ...

There is clearly an analogous, emerging Google theme in the energy space around open access to data that involves more than a pretty user interface for your utility bill. As the utility AMI world continues to fret over network technology decisions (i.e. private RF mesh or WiMax networks vs. public broadband networks), Google seems to be a very interested party. Much like its headfake on purchasing telecom spectrum was enough to ensure open access to a variety of devices, the company certainly seems to have a method to its madness. The team at the Googleplex has something up its sleeve in the energy world and it is well worth keeping our eyes on.

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