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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

19 Aug 2008 05:08:35

Smart grids to help energy awareness

Smart grids to help energy awareness
Smart grids being developed with European funding could make house-holders more aware of their energy use by telling them the real time costs of electricity.

The Active Distribution networks with full integration of Demand and distributed energy Resources (ADDRESS) project aims to develop grids that would allow consumers to decide when to use electricity.

By giving them information of the cost of 30 minute blocks of energy the system would let consumers choose when to use appliances, and when to unplug them.

Instead of the traditional consumers of energy, it is hoped the smart grids would involve consumers in energy conservation as 'prosumers'.

As well as buying electricity at the most convenient time, the system would help people with installed microgeneration devices decide when to sell power back to the grid.

The UK currently does not have feed-in tariffs which would facilitate the sale of surplus energy to the grid.

Announcing the research project, the European Commission said: "Today's grids are outdated and in need of an urgent make-over. They are based on a vertically integrated scheme with centralised generation – such as a single huge energy plant, and a distributed consumption network."

The commission added: "These characteristics are not sufficient to meet the challenges of the future which envision further market liberalisation occurring in the energy sector."

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