Google and Amazon Race to Electricity Sector

Google and Amazon Race to Electricity Sector

Based on reporting from WSJ’s Bradley Olson, “Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are taking early steps to expand into the electricity business, as home-energy automation emerges as a rich source of customer data.”

Olson explains, “The technology giants aren’t interested in selling megawatts – at least not for now. But they are seeking ways to expand their smart speakers, internet-connected thermostats and other devices to harness information on consumers’ personal energy use.”

The future prospects for tech companies in the energy sector – though currently limited – are mostly unexplored. Olson writes that executives foresee “a future where solar panels, battery storage and even electric vehicles all become part of a smart-home ecosystem.”

David Crane, former chief executive of NRG Energy Inc., boldly stated, “In 10 or 20 years, the dominant retail electric provider in the United States is going to be Amazon or Google.” Mr. Crane supported his claim, saying, “They can provide lower cost and better service.”

Both Google and Amazon have made investments to help gain traction in the energy landscape. In 2014, Google bought Nest Labs, a maker of home-security cameras and thermostats, for $3.2 billion. Amazon acquired Ring, who makes video doorbells, for an estimated $1 billion last year.

What are the financial opportunities in this sector? Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that “spending on home-energy devices exceeded $40 billion in 2018 and is set to double in the next five years.”

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2 Responses to "Google and Amazon Race to Electricity Sector"

  1. News Maven   February 2, 2019 at 5:19 am

    What happens when a mayor with upward political intentions leads his city into a long-term green energy CONtract? The taxpayers get socked.
    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/texas-towns-environmental-narcissism-makes-al-gore-happy-while-sticking-its-citizens-with-the-bill
    “But while Ross was being lauded far and wide, the residents of his town were paying a steep price. His decision to bet on renewables resulted in the city budget getting dinged by a total of $29.8 million in the four years from 2015 to 2018. Georgetown’s electric costs were $3.5 million over budget in 2015, ballooning to $6.3 million in 2016, the same year the mayor locked his municipal utility into 20- and 25-year wind and solar energy contracts to make good on his 100 percent renewable pledge.
    By 2017, the mayor’s green gamble was undercut by the cheap natural gas prices brought about by the revolution in high-tech fracking. Power that year cost the city’s budget $9.5 million more than expected, rising to $10.5 million last year, according to budget documents reported by The Williamson County Sun.”

    Reply
  2. Mike   February 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Excellent example, News Maven. “Green energy” will be fine – someday when it’s economically competitive and reliable as our conventional energy sources – then green energy could be adopted in small stages as it gets more viable.
    But Dem-Socialists such as Acasio-Cortez think they can simply “legislate” their unicorns and rainbows fantasy of right-now-today “Green Energy” into being, as if the laws of nature and economics can be nullified by mere words on a piece of paper. “Green Energy” may someday be in wide use, but until that future our natural gas, oil, and coal energies will still be necessary to maintain modern life as we know it. AOC’s plan to FORCE America to end all conventional energy sources and adopt expensive, difficult to store and distribute “Green Energy” would be a societal and economic disaster.
    If AOC gets her “Green New Deal” way, she should try telling everyone up north in the Polar Vortex they’ll have to use wind energy and solar power next winter to stay warm, since all their gas and coal is illegal. Or she should tell everyone they have to junk their fuel-powered cars NOW and buy an electric vehicle, no matter the limited range and lack of charging stations for all-electric vehicles.

    Technology, like anything else, isn’t immune to economic laws. Just because something passes a Technology test, it still has to pass the Economic test to become to become the real-world norm.

    Reply

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