After congressional leaders reached compromise on a 789 billion dollar economic stimulus package that includes investment for smart grid and broadband infrastructure, there were lots of smiling faces around Mountain View, Cali., the headquarters of Google Inc.
President Obama’s stated desire to invest in smart grid and broadband infrastructures syncs quite nicely with Google’s obvious desire to improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure but it also will benefit the company’s recent incursion into smart metering.
While the specifics of Wednesday’s compromise have yet to be released, the Senate version of the stimulus slated $7 billion for broadband and $20 billion for smart grid investment, with final figures likely to be smaller. [update: CNET reports that smart grid investment was pared down in the final package to $11 billion]
After a meeting with President Obama at the White House last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he was pleased with the proposed cash injection into the demand side of the economic equation, particularly with money being targeted for broadband and grid improvements, saying “that’s a good down payment on the future of America.”
John Timmer at ArsTechnica points out that Google may have even announced the private beta release of their smart metering software a bit early to coincide with the boost provided by the stimulus package and establishing itself as a presence in the smart grid sector. Doing so, Timmer argues, helps Google stake a claim for the “mountains of data” that will result from an increase of demand-side energy management.
Google isn’t the only tech company that stands to gain from injections into broadband and grid upgrades, GE, IBM, Microsoft, have all been vocal supporters of the investment and have been active in the beltway in support of it. Charlie Savage and David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times write:
“To many on K Street, the stimulus bill was the clearest guide to the new administration’s closest friends in the business world. What oil was to President Bush, some say, clean energy and technology are to the Obama White House.”
With the apparent agreement on an economic stimulus package, the cleantech sector—which includes Google more and more every day—is looking to enjoy the fruits of their newfound acceptance at the White House.
Image: CC Licensed by flickr user Mykil Roventine