Big changes are coming to Nest Renew, Google’s clean-energy service for Nest thermostat users looking to reduce their carbon footprints.
First of all, the program won’t be called Nest Renew anymore. Soon (and if all goes according to plan), the service will be rebranded as Renew Home.
But bigger still is the news that the soon-to-be Renew Home won’t be a Google-owned entity anymore. Instead, Google is spinning off Nest Renew, which will combine with OhmConnect, a clean-energy platform owned by Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, according to TechCrunch.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will see Google stay on as a minority shareholder of Renew Home, while OhmConnect owner SIP is expected to sink $100 million into the combined venture.
So, how will all this affect current Nest Renew subscribers? Unsurprisingly, SIP is promising a “seamless transition,” along with “improved experiences and offerings.” SIP also contends that Renew Home could provide a boost to virtual power plants (VPPs), or networks of homes equipped with solar panels and home batteries that feed energy to local power grids.
SIP says it will share “more details in 2024 about how Renew Home will help customers and partners save, earn rewards, and increase their positive impact.”
First announced back in the fall of 2021, Nest Renew boasts a feature called Energy Shift that allows a compatible Nest thermostat to prioritize heating and cooling activities at times when cleaner energy is available on your local power grid.
Energy Shift can also work with “time-of-use” plans offered by a growing number of public utilities. By enrolling in a time-of-use plan, customers can realize steep discounts on their energy bills by shifting their power consumption to off-peak hours.
Meanwhile, a premium tier of Nest Renew (the “basic” tier is free) lets you match your estimated fossil-fuel energy consumption with “high quality” Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)—aka “green tags”—from Google’s portfolio of U.S. wind and solar energy projects. Those RECs, once retired, allow individuals and businesses to claim their homes or businesses are either partially or fully powered by renewable energy.
In another Nest Renew Premium benefit, subscribers in certain markets can pay their energy bills through the program, meaning you get a single bill with your Renew Premium monthly fee ($10/month), your standard utility charges, and a rundown of how your sustainability efforts are helping the planet.
Nest Renew has resulted in more than a billion “energy adjustments” to Nest thermostats just this year, according to SIP.
OhmConnect currently has roughly 225,000 users.
Updated shortly after publication with a correction: It’s OhmConnect, not Nest Renew, that has about 225,000 subscribers. (Google hasn’t revealed the number of Nest Renew users). Our apologies for the error.