IT energy technologies as applied to the electricity grid to create the "smart grid" have the ability to transform the electricity grid to a more dynamic and decentralized system to deliver and manage our energy needs, and one that is able to significantly increase the amount of renewable sources of electricity.
The electric vehicle in your garage or parking lot may be able to serve as a storage device of renewable energy such as wind, which often blows more at night when demand is lower, and can then be borrowed back from the smart grid during the day when the demand is higher. When combined with building energy management tools (see below), the smart grid allows the customer to see how power is used or costs throughout the day and allow the customer to take action to reduce their energy footprint or power bill.
With the ability to quickly adjust the supply of energy from a broader range of sources, as well as adjust the demand through the growth in development of “smarter” buildings and appliances, the "smart grid" has the potential to allow the reduction or phase out of the dirty coal fired power plants. Though the "smart grid" is in very early stages of definition and investment, IT driven smart grid technology holds the potential for significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
See how Cisco and IBM score for their climate solutions on the Cool IT leaderboard.