Utilities embrace Green Button energy data project

Nine more utilities, and three large energy vendors, announced support on Thursday for the Green Button project, which enables utility customers to download their energy consumption data with a click of a button and also use that data for energy-saving apps.

Obama administration unveils programs to build the smart grid

As expected, at an event at the White House on Monday, Obama administration officials unveiled a slew of programs and initiatives that will aim to help add information technology to the power grid to make the grid more efficient and more secure.

YouTube Users Upload 24 Hours of Video Every Minute

YouTube’s (s GOOG) users are uploading 24 hours of video every minute, the site’s director of product management Hunter Walk just announced. From Walks’s blog post:

“A day’s worth of content uploaded to YouTube every minute is a big achievement for our community and speaks to the role video plays in connecting and changing the world one upload at a time. So what’s next? 30 hours? 36 hours?”

YouTube’s users were uploading 20 hours of video per minute about ten months ago, the site announced last May, after reaching 15 hours of video in January 2009. In early 2007, YouTube was clocking six hours of footage every minute.
YouTube has been stepping up its efforts to monetize its vast amount of content; the site announced yesterday that it was opening up display ad overlays to everyone, which should lead to many more advertisers embracing the format.
Related content on GigaOm Pro: Not Your Grandfather’s Streaming Video Business (subscription required)

Some Utilities Considering Rejecting Smart Grid Stimulus Funds?

Updated: Smart meter maker Itron (s ITRI) reported better than expected fourth quarter and annual 2009 earnings late Wednesday. That wasn’t too shocking given Itron has been expected to turn around this year as it has started shipping significant volumes of smart meters to utilities. But what was surprising in the company’s conference call was this nugget that CEO Malcolm Unsworth let out about how some utilities might potentially be thinking about rejecting the smart grid stimulus funds because of certain tax restrictions. That was the first time I’ve heard that.

In response to a question from Stuart Bush, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets, about a debate among utilities over tax implications of the stimulus funds, Unsworth says:

Obviously, I can’t talk for what the utilities are discussing. We had some of those that actually have said that they – I think it was been public statements that they may turn it down because of certain restrictions or whatever. I really don’t know, but it’s going to be a case-by-case business, I’m assuming. So, we just work with our utility potential customers and work through as we go case-by-case.

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The Tech Vendors That Will Cash in on the Smart Grid Stimulus Funds

powergridgeneric8In a couple months the $3.4 billion in stimulus funds for smart grid projects will be doled out to about 100 utilities and cities. But the tech vendors — smart meter makers, network software developers, wireless sensor gear companies — will see those funds flow down in the form of contracts. While the ecosystem as a whole will benefit, here’s a breakdown of companies that we know already have a piece of these projects:

Meter Makers:

Itron (s ITRI): The largest meter maker, with more than 14 million smart meters under contract, Itron had some significant skin in the stimulus-funded game, including contracts with CenterPoint Energy (which snagged a $200 million award for 2.2 million smart meters), San Diego Gas and Electric ($28.12 million for wireless smart grid network), DTE Energy (s DTE) ($83.83 million for 660,000 smart meters and 300 smart appliances) and City of Glendale Water and Power ($20 million for 84,000 smart meters). As Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s president and chief executive officer, put it in a release: “The industry has been waiting for this day and these announcements since early in 2009.”
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The Winners and Losers in the Smart Grid Stimulus Funds

powergridgeneric8The $3.4 billion in smart grid stimulus fund awards were announced this morning and close to 100 recipients woke up today to the equivalent of Christmas morning. At the same time, another 300 or so utilities and cities missed the boat and will have to find their own funds to get their smart grid projects rolling.

CenterPoint Energy, Florida Light and Power and PECO Energy Company received the maximum $200 million grant, while the tiny municipal utility EPB, which is building an unusual fiber-based smart grid in Chattanooga, Tenn., received $111.57 million. But California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (s PCG) and Southern California Edison, as well as National Grid, Oncor, and Tennessee Valley Authority were notably absent from the list (see some of the applicants that didn’t receive funds here).
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