Smart grids and the future of energy distribution
Smart meters and the Internet of ThingsSmart meters open up a number of possibilities for intelligent distribution networks. Smart meters communicate a premises’ energy consumption data to suppliers and other third parties in real time. Because they connect to the internet and relay feedback to operators like this, smart meters fall on the IoT spectrum. And once the government’s smart meter rollout is complete (sometime around 2020) these very useful data collectors will be installed in every home and non-domestic site in the UK. This will give operators like the National Grid a very good view over the energy network. They will be able to see nationwide consumption data as it happens and they will be able to monitor energy use in real time, based on immediate data rather than historic patterns of use. This means that they will be able to quickly alter supply to meet demand more efficiently. This is one of the most useful examples of Internet of Things in action. And it will make energy cheaper and the UK greener. It could also lead to more efficient models of pricing. Currently, unless you are billed half-hourly for your energy costs then the price you pay for energy will be more or less flat no matter what time of day you’re plugged in. Because smart meters can collect better data, and because the National Grid has an interest in keeping energy consumption pretty ‘flat’ (so they’re not constantly powering generators up and down), suppliers could introduce different pricing tariffs to try and regulate demand. Obviously there will be some energy demand that can’t be put off – but a lot of businesses could regulate their demand so it is more flexible. Manufacturers and workshop-based businesses, for example, could put off their most energy-hungry processes to a time when gird demand is lower. For more information about the possibilities of smart metering, read our guide to saving money with smart meters.
Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )
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