There's this little company you may have heard of called GE.   Yeah, it's the one Edison started and I don't know where you come down in the whole Westinghouse/Edison fight but one of those guys screwed Tesla and one did not, so I am inclined to like Westinghouse more than Edison even though GE stock obviously did much better.

Hey, I can stick with my principles and still make some money.

But GE has earned my respect, not because of Jack Welch (though he earned my respect, mostly by making the stock a gold mine and despite being a part of that annoying Six Sigma crap that has been foisted off on MBAs since the 1990s) but because they made smart grids seem kind of cool.

What are smart grids?

If you know anything at all about smart grids you know it's basically a buzzword term that has little practical value - kind of like Prius or 'framing' in 2006.   If you aren't familiar with smart grids, the concept is to treat energy like a 'living infrastructure' and manage it using digital technology.

Right now, you pay an average cost for your energy in peak and off-peak times even though the price a utility might pay for energy, especially in a maddeningly regulated deregulation nightmare scenario like we have in California (1), varies rather wildly.  Smart grid technology is supposedly better because it uses that other useless buzzphrase, 'digital technology' to manage energy usage.

Politicans love smart grid technology because it gives governments something new to mandate.   Obama's science thinkers are strictly global warming-oriented so they are throwing money at anything that will achieve mitigation and that means expensive new meters that may or may not reduce usage.   Utilities are okay with smart meters because the government will use the ever-broadening future deficit to give them real cash today.

The downside to you?   Utilities will be able to change the temperature in your home when more important people need electricity.   In return the government will claim you can put  up solar panels and easily 'sell power back' to utilities.  

It's an imperfect solution but the government incentivizes utilities to build more infrastructure so they are going to build more infrastructure unless someone in the government decides to, you know, change some things, and not just throw new money at 1990s science.

But I digress into facts about dumb policy when what I really want to talk about is cool technology; namely GE's ecomagination website.

It's as simple as this.   You go to their website, print off a piece of paper, turn on your webcam and click Wind or Solar.    Really.    Here is what the paper looks like.   

GE ecomagination sheet
Seriously, that's it.   And a webcam.  When you're done, be sure to go to the bottom of the website and learn all about smart grid technology marketing.   And for bonus fun, blow into your microphone after you click Wind.

Since you're all instant gratification/overinflated sense of entitlement types, I will even save you the trouble of printing off the page and turning on your webcam.   Sorry for the grainy quality.    You want production values, you can pay a subscription for Nature (the magazine, not the bitch).


(1) Don't get me started but only a bunch of incompetent boobs could screw up deregulation and actually make it more expensive for consumers by micromanaging that utlities can't own the power lines or sign long term contracts.  It's one of the many screw-ups from the Grey Davis years that California consumers are still paying for.