Tech firms turn to energy efficiency in climate fight

Energy efficiency is becoming sexier for high-tech firms in California's Silicon Valley, especially with President Obama's new rules on carbon pollution from power plants.

The new rules, which mandate states reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 30 percent by 23030, allow states to choose their own plan to reach their specific target.

In the proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging states to boost energy efficiency by business and residential users 1.5 percent every year.

The new rules are only further incentivizing a growing industry for tech entrepreneurs, big-data enthusiast and Wall Street, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Those big players are capitalizing on multibillion-dollar programs in a number of states like California and Massachusetts.

This isn't about wind turbines, solar panels and the usual suspects of renewable energy these tech firms are talking about. Now, power companies want to tap into databases to vigorously profile the energy use of customers.

A prime example is the firm Nest, which makes thermostats that fashion after iPhones and use instinct to gauge the needs of its owner, the LA Times reports.

"There was this notion that energy efficiency would never be sexy, never be something people wanted," Ben Bixby, director of energy products at Nest, told the LA Times. "Nest has built this object of desire."

Nest, which Google Inc. spent $3.2 billion to buy this year, is attracting employees from Apple Inc., Google and Tesla Motors Inc. to its base in Palo Alto, Calif.