Using Green to Make Green



I recently finished reading Thomas Friedman’s book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which is all about the need for clean energy. 



As I did, I was taken with the idea from a company called GridPoint:  Why not put a “smart box” inside, say, an electric car, and have that box would automatically control the amount of energy flowing from the power grid into the plugged-in vehicle? 


That way, your electric car would only charge when energy costs were cheapest, saving you money, while taxing the power grid as little as possible.


So, imagine my surprise when, at a recent forum on clean energy hosted by Applied Materials, there was GridPoint, and its box.  Seeing this technology in action was very cool, especially since it was easy to understand, even for someone with absolutely no background in science.


As we drove around in the comfortable, 4-seat Mitsubishi electric car (soon to be produced in China), I was told that not only was the car good for the environment, but the way the car juiced up was also good for the environment.


Friedman points out that, feel-good “eco-this” and “green-thats” aside, to truly help the planet, a revolution must take place, and revolutions always demand big changes.  That’s why a company like Applied Materials (AMAT) is using much of its chip equipment resources to focus on the solar business.  Panel-making technology not only helps the grid, it may also someday help Applied’s bottom line — which, given the state of the chip equipment business, could definitely use a ray of sunshine.



Applied’s forum also brought scientists and technologists together from both the US and China.  Here’s a sobering fact:  Our two countries combine for half the world’s current energy consumption . . .  and each of us looks to use more in the future. Nothing better could possibly come from forums like this one that a friendly competition.  Which country can green the grid faster? 


As Friedman points out, the winner not only gets to breathe easier, it also gets to collect the most green.


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