Today in Cleantech

Microsoft’s rolling along in its quest to accumulate utility data to help handle the plug-in electric and hybrid cars of the future. Over at Pike Research’s blog, John Gartner lays out the latest from Warren Dent, Microsoft’s director of business development, in a talk he had with EV infrastructure players in Portland, Ore.. (Ford, which has teamed up with Microsoft for car charging help, was likely in the room, and I’d have to guess that ECOtality might have been there as well). Microsoft has been collecting utility energy tariff and rate data from utilities in 17 U.S. metro areas, most of them on the coasts. It’s putting all that data into its Microsoft Utility Rate Service (MURS), which it will open as a subscription service to government and private parties trying to build car-charging networks. Microsoft has been working with big utilities including Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, and Portland General Electric. The latter two utilities have also been giving their customers access to Microsoft’s Hohm home energy Web service, which was the focus around the initial Ford-Microsoft car charging data partnership announced last year. Gartner’s blog post asks if Microsoft intends to become the Google of utility data — an interesting comparison, since Google has its own home energy platform, PowerMeter, and its own initiatives around linking plug-in car drivers to the charging stations they need to fuel up.