Smart Internet+Smart-Grid: making money and reducing carbon footprint

Two technology/commercial trends are coming our way in Australia:
  • the Internet everywhere (3G wireless or NBN), means "smart controllers" will be cheap, simple and everywhere. They will be able to trivially hook into 3-7 day local forecasts, especially useful for air-conditioning units.
  • "Smart Power" metering will start to charge power at different prices during the day, rather than the disconnected traditional pricing of "a single price whenever you use it".
    You can see real-time wholesale electricity prices on-line and a Pretty graph in 30-min periods.
    Yesterday (12/12/11), the 30-min price varied from $52/MWhr @ 4PM to $16/MWhr @ 2AM. In 5-min periods, the price ranged from $95 to $16.
There's a bit of background you may or may not know about Power Generators: they over-build capacity to meet any and all demands placed on them. There aren't just no incentives for Power Generators or their customers to reduce either aggregate or instantaneous demand, but the reverse: significant economic disincentives to reducing demand, and hence to lowered income and profit. This is a perverse economic outcome costing us a lot of money and burning carbon unnecessarily.

From "An EnergySmart Plan. Positioning Queensland for a Diversified Energy Future 2010 - 2050" [original dead link] (Nov 2010 report for Queensland Government):
Ergon and ENERGEX will each spend $6 billion (that is $12B combined) in capital expenditure over the next five years to cope with extraordinary consumption during a fraction of the year, rather than the average consumption over the course of the year.

To put this into perspective, ENERGEX has over $900M in assets that are only used for approximately 3.5 days per year. (Mark Paterson, ENERGEX, The SPRA Standard).
That's not good business, but how can a solution be converted into useful products that make a profit?


Microsoft Troubles XIII: "Business Insider" articles

A couple of articles discussing Microsoft's future, directly and indirectly.
Others are starting to forecast the potential for a collapse and "Microsoft 2012 == IBM 1990".

Steve Jobs Was Right: Google IS Turning Into Microsoft
(reminding us that Microsoft has tried to get into TV, cable, music and a bunch of other things)
(Larry Pages asked Steve Jobs for advice.)
Jobs told him to focus on fewer things and do them really well.