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Letter to the President: “Unleash the Forces of Innovation”

April 10th, 2010 by Nick Sinai - Energy and Environment Director

On Monday the National Broadband Plan received a strong vote of support from a coalition of almost 50 leading technology companies, clean technology start-ups, non-governmental organizations, and venture capitalists.

Signatories include GE, Google, Comcast, AT&T, Verzion, Intel, HP, Nokia, Best Buy, Whirlpool, the Environmental Defense Fund, Alliance to Save Energy, ACEEE, NRDC, Foundation Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

In their open letter to President Obama, the coalition writes “every household and business [should have] access to timely, useful and actionable information on their energy use.” Specifically, the letter highlights the importance of allowing consumers to view their own energy consumption, pricing and pricing plans, and electricity generation sources.

It’s encouraging to see a diverse set of influential organizations endorse the principle that consumers should be able to get access to timely energy data as a way to “unleash the forces of innovation in homes and businesses” and prevent millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

As highlighted in the letter, the National Broadband Plan delivered a similar vision a few weeks ago.  One of the six goals for the country in the plan is:

“To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

The plan also included a series of recommendations to the states, the Administration, and Congress to encourage utilities to make energy information more available to consumers, in open, machine-readable formats.  Check them out in the National Broadband Plan.

Google and the Climate Group hosted a forum: “Power in Numbers: Unleashing Innovation in Home Energy Use” on Tuesday afternoon. I was on a panel, but the highlight of the day was the keynote: Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

She mentioned that “we need people to really understand not only how much electricity they are using but where their electricity is coming from.” In addition, she said that “giving people this kind of real-time feedback will start to change not only their behavior, which is important, but equally important is start to drive the demand for more efficient appliances.”

We couldn’t agree more.

If you missed the event, check out these four videos:
Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4

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