SAN MATEO, Calif. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore swept into Silicon Valley for two appearances on Thursday. In between takes of guest appearances on TV's "30 Rock," the Nobel prize winner stumped for the smart electric grid and helped hand out awards to technologists honored for their work in social justice.
At the Greenbeat conference in San Mateo, Gore made the case for the need to move to a smart grid as one of the key requirements for combating global warming. An open, digital and networked grid will open the door to the broad use of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources and raise energy efficiency, Gore said.
The smart grid "will serve multiple goals and pay for itself over not many years," Gore added, noting that the average age of a transformer on the U.S. grid today is 42 years old. One utility manager talked about how his company recent upgraded a gas meter in Cincinnati that was originally built in the late 1800's.
In addition, smart grids will "empower a new collection of devices in much same way the Internet allowed explosion of Net-ready devices," said Gore.
Indeed at Greenbeat, Ed Lu, special project director for Google.org, talked about the company's PowerMeter software being used in a wide range of home devices to let customers access data about their energy use. In a video, Lu took questions about the project.