Friday, 7 January 2011

How Energy Use Dwarfs the Power Facebook and Twitter

Very few topics generate more buzz these days than news about social
networks. Just how big is Facebook, and what, exactly are our kids doing on
it every day? How will Apple create a network around music, and what's
Google doing about it?

It's easy to forget that the world's largest business energy
also represents the world's largest
network, a nexus of wires and pipelines, consumers and "content providers"
(a.k.a. energy producers) all tightly connected in a $7 trillion a year

It's a network that's always on, whether you're talking about the clock
radios and refrigerators that populate our homes, or the tankers and oil
wells that feed our morning commutes. Most importantly, it's a network that
can host surprising, even world-changing innovation that make our lives more
interesting, more productive, and more secure.

Companies around the world are starting to exploit the network
characteristics of energy. They're beginning to understand that their
organizations have an energy nervous system and an energy metabolism.
Businesses are innovating by mapping these networks, from the lights they
use in offices and stores to the wires and generators that power them.
They're using new software and new machines that help them deliver more
goods and services for less and less energy at even better prices.

Corporations are also hedging against the risks inherent in this vast
network. Up and down their energy and material supply chains, they're
mapping their vulnerability to price shocks and environmental impacts.
Companies like Walmart are collaborating, not just on their local grids, but
across the globe to drive new levels of energy efficiency and therefore
reduce risks to their bottom line.

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