Smart meter: Google launches eco energy trials as cost of living crisis grips nation

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Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, 49, has vowed to do more to help tackle climate change. Mr Pichai even mentioned queuing for water during droughts in India as a child and waking up to “orange skies and smoke from wildfires” as an adult in the Golden State.

Back in October, he said: “It was another reminder of how climate change is impacting so many of our communities.”

Google has long tried to clean up its own operations and even suggested it is the first major company to be offsetting all of its emissions.

The company has since committed itself to using only “carbon-free” energy by 2030.

However, Google also made a $3.2billion (£2.6billion) purchase in 2014 for the thermostat and smoke detector maker Nest.

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Nest has since allowed households to opt into a scheme which sees individuals get paid for setting their thermostat to cut energy use during peak times.

Google is now trailing yet another scheme in the United States.

The scheme looks to take a further step as Nest Renew hopes to prioritise running when power is cheaper and cleaner.

However, despite an expected increase in demand for electricity, there are challenges ahead.

A Google spokesperson said: “The challenge of transforming our ageing grid from a centralised, fossil-based system to the carbon-free grid of the future will require innovations beyond large-scale, carbon-free energy technology, particularly in demand-side management.”

They added: “With Nest Renew, we are taking the next step toward simplifying energy management at home, putting new tools for supporting clean energy front and centre.”

RMI, an environmental think tank in the US, produced a study funded by Google last year which found Google’s Nest Renew could cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 50million tons per year if 10million households used such a service.

The report added: “Policymakers, regulators, and utilities who shape the markets in which they operate must act, quickly and in coordination, to break down barriers to adoption for all households.”

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Despite proponents suggesting consumers will benefit from the scheme, critics remain concerned about whether they threaten households’ control over energy use.

Lauren Shwisberg, co-author of the RMI study, even claimed households are able to override any automatic settings.

She explained: “We’ve had a lot of extreme weather events in the US [where electricity systems have struggled to cope] highlighting the value of shifting energy and the opportunity for solutions like this to step in and provide cost savings and reliability.”

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