Google and General Electric will team up to promote renewable energy and a smart grid to improve the distribution of electricity.
The partnership, of one of the leaders in IT with one of the leaders in just about everything else, helps promote both of their businesses, as the Wall Street Journal points out: Google makes software that might regulate a smart grid, and GE is a major manufacturer of wind turbines. (GE also has a gigantic environmental legacy, the centerpiece of which is the PCB contamination of the Hudson River and the company's decades-long fight to stall or derail a Superfund cleanup.)
But their business goals are in line with a longterm energy strategy for the country that could amp up the economy, help sure up our national security and reduce our contribution to global warming.
Their partnership amounts to a marketing and lobbying effort.
And that's ok. Without Congressional action to create long-term subsidies that support the renewable energy market and basic research, we'll remain reliant on oil -- wherever it is drilled -- and the global warming and shaky national security implications that come with it. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have talked about extending tax credits for renewable energy and investing in a new smart grid (which would better distribute electricity produced in far-flung wind farms and the like to energy-hungry cities).
So to Google and GE, we say, Godspeed.
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