All about ideas…

Stimulus Plan: California businesses talk Energy

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California business leaders, venture capitalists and companies are excited by the prospect of President Obama’s Stimulus Plan for one reason: validation of all their hard work, research and development.

Bringing the power grid into the Internet age is a priority. The bill presented by House Democrats includes $11 billion to boost the IQ of electrical grids by employing sensors to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. An alternative bill introduced in the Senate would raise that sum to $16 billion.

We’ve been swimming upstream,” said Peter Sharer, chief executive of Agilewaves, a Menlo Park maker of a product that monitors electricity, gas and water use in homes and businesses. “We’re finally swimming with the current. That’s what federal support means to us.”

While initiatives like solar power have cosmic cachet, upgrading the power infrastructure is the logical place to start, some clean-tech investors say. “We know that efficiency is the low-hanging fruit,” explained Levensohn, of Levensohn Venture
Venture Capital.

America’s aging power grids now waste 10 to 30 percent of electricity from the generator to the plug, industry experts say. Foundation Capital partner Steve Vassallo likened the grid to a leaky bucket. Instead of simply putting more energy into the system, “the first thing you should do is fix the bucket,” he said.

Imagine how many thousands – or millions – of jobs would be created in the private sector and how many billions of dollars would be saved by governments, businesses and households if that 10 to 30% waste were eliminated with the installation of smart technology?

While Republicans haggle over a “tax cut only” stimulus plan, American technology businesses are ready, with Federal help, to lead this country forward towards energy independence while at the same time creating millions of new jobs.


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