The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided that utilities must give their rate-payers access to their energy consumption information as well as any third party appointed by the rate-payer. This decision will allow home owners to see their energy usage in real time and companies like Google, Microsoft, Intel and others to build and sell software services and products to home owners and other rate payers. This decision will take effect by the end of 2011 for California home owners. The question of requiring all state utilities to make this information available is under consideration by Congress.
While renewable energy like wind and solar are getting the media and venture capital attention, there is another part of reducing CO2 emissions that isn't quite as attractive, that being waste and recycling. But these green industries are finding ways to flourish. Walmart and WasteManagement have worked together to recycle a large portion of the waste generated by the retail giant. WasteManagement now generates income from recycling, not just trash collecting. iGPS manufactures plastic pallets with a radio frequency chip (RFID) in them and rents them to businesses. Plastic pallets being lighter than wooden ones, translates into less fuel consumed by trucks to move goods and are recyclable at the end of their life, with no new trees needing to be cut down.
While already popular in Europe, bicycle sharing programs are getting off to a good start in the US, specifically Denver, CO. Bcycle, is making 400 bicycles available in Denver on Earth Day. For $5 commuters can get a bike for 24 hours, a 7 day rental is $20, and for $30 you can rent for 30 days. Look for SmartBike coming soon to the Washington D.C. area.