Immelt, Schmidt: New Grid Is A Piece Of (Really Expensive) Cake


How tricky is it to completely reconfigure our country’s electrical grid? According to Jeff Immelt, it’s not tricky at all:

Portfolio: “I don’t think this is hard,” Immelt said in response to a question from Al Gore, a Google groupie. “I’d say health care is hard. Solving the U.S.’s health-care system is actually quite difficult. Energy actually isn’t hard. The technology exists; it doesn’t have to be invented. It needs to be applied.… We make the gadgets—smart electric meters, things like that. People like Google can make the software, which makes the system. That’s the key to renewable energy.”

Phew! That’s all taken care of. Just collaborate with Google and voila!–you’ve got an amazing new technology that will help people save money on their energy bills. Seems too simple, is there anything else we need to get this off the ground? Just a gigantic check from the government:

As part of their collaboration, GE and Google will launch an advocacy campaign in the nation’s capital to push for more federal subsidies and incentives for green power. The government, Immelt says, must be a catalyst for change. “I would say this with humility, as I sit here today,” Immelt said. “Look, I’m a lifelong Republican; I believe in free markets. But I think that, to a certain extent, we worship false idols over time. There’s been no such thing, in all the businesses we do, as one in which the government hasn’t played some role. So let’s just be clear about that.”

On renewable power, Schmidt says much the same thing, without the humility. “I’m quite convinced that if you follow my reasoning, and if you take ad­vantage of the technological opportunities, the funding opportunities, and the apparent willingness of the U.S. government to write large checks in a series of crises,” he gushed in October, “we could do this on Monday.”