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Google, GE combine powers to bolster energy grid

Sep 17, 2008 - The Associated Press

Google Inc. and General Electric Co. said Wednesday they will work together to improve the nation's energy network, including the development of a "smart grid."

The corporate giants said they will form a policy partnership in Washington, D.C., and collaborate to develop renewable energy and electric-vehicle charging technologies, and improve the nation's transmission system.

A so-called "smart grid" would allow utilities to more-closely monitor energy usage and directly interact with consumers.

"The current regulatory and economic model is failing to drive the innovation and investment we need in today's electric grid," the companies said in a statement. "We will work to overcome regulatory and institutional barriers and advocate for appropriate incentives."

In a conference call to promote the partnership, GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt told Google CEO Eric Schmidt that "clean energy is both a technology and a public policy." "If we really want to drive renewable energy ... we're going to have to have more transmission," he said.


It's not difficult to make improvements to the nation's energy system, Immelt said, comparing the industry to another hot-button area.

"I'd say health care is hard," he said. "Energy (improvement) isn't hard. The technology exists."