Google and The Climate Group ask Obama to support revolution in home energy use

6 April 2010

Washington D.C. – A letter was sent to President Obama yesterday, asking for his Administration to adopt the goal of giving every household and business access to timely, useful and actionable information on their energy use. Today, The Climate Group will host a joint event with Google Inc. in Washington D.C to provide a platform for discussing the benefits of energy information for consumers, and how to realize them.

Along with The Climate Group and Google, the letter to Obama outlining what is required was signed in support by 45 green groups, technology companies, investors and retailers, including AT&T, Best Buy, Dow, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson Controls, Inc, the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, and Whirlpool.

Studies and experience show that when people have access to direct feedback on their electricity use they can achieve substantial energy savings through simple behavioral changes. In the U.S., for example, a 15% reduction in electricity consumption by 2020 represents greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 35 million cars off the road, saving consumers $46 billion on energy bills or $360 per customer per year.

The event and letter build on recommendations included in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan, which was released last month. Goal 6 of the plan stated that ‘every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption’ and draws substantially from the findings of The Climate Group’s SMART 2020 Report.
At the event, panel discussions will explore which tools and technologies would empower people with information and control. Led by Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, the discussion will focus on how those tools and technologies could be put in the hands of consumers. 
Michael Terrell, Energy Policy Counsel for Google said, “Consumers of energy are one of the nation’s largest untapped clean energy resources. In order for consumers to reach their full potential we need the Federal Government to help lead the way.”

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director of The Climate Group in the U.S., said, “Government leadership on consumer access to energy information will not only help consumers save money and energy, but will unlock a new domestic market for products and services that help consumers reduce their energy use. America’s technology and utility companies will have the opportunity to innovate and compete for a share of the smart grid market, which we estimate to be worth $12.6 billion globally. It would be common sense policy that will not only save consumers 15% on their energy bills but be good for the planet, good for jobs and good for the economy.”

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