Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Reduction in energy usage via connectivity to a customer's house

smartelectricnews.com Special

Development of standards-based smart grid connectivity that offers easy home area networks (HAN) access to utilities deploying Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions continues to pave way for a "greener" environment.

AMI provides energy savings for consumers through management of devices and appliances in the home area network.

As a result, there is energy saving through improved demand management and lower energy costs to consumers.

The industry has already witnessed developments related to broadband smart meter HAN interface, coupled with ultra low-power chips that leverage the widely-deployed Wi-Fi infrastructure, enabling programmable, connected devices such as thermostats and smart appliances to optimise the control, delivery, and usage of power.

Home energy monitoring

The industry has been working on shaping up new software for home energy monitoring products, designed to provide consumers with a more detailed information on the energy they use.

Via such systems, customers are offered energy bills with a comprehensive information. It is hoped that providing customers with more details about the appliances and times of day that use the most energy will encourage them to think more about curbing energy use.

New manufacturing techniques can produce devices – including a microprocessor, a unique Internet address, a controller, and simple network communications – at a very low cost per control point, so these devices can be embedded into electrical appliances and lighting ballasts.

Sharing his viewpiont, Dr. Maher Chebbo, Vice President Utilities for Europe ,Middle East and Africa (EMEA), SAP AG , who is scheduled to speak during Intelligent Demand Response for Electricity Summit 2009, to be held in Amsterdam on 28-29 January 2009, says Chips applicances have been produced by different labs like Northwest National Lab.

For instance, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that providing homeowners with smart appliances and information on how to save money cut their energy costs but also reduced overall power consumption during peak use periods.

"(Such initiatives) help in sending real-time information about the energy consumption of each electrical appliance at home and also to help self programming in terms of turn-on, turn-off when energy if more expensive and at peak times," said Dr. Chebbo.

As per the information available, appliances outfitted with computer chips are able to sense when the transmission system was stressed and partially turned themselves off to save critical kilowatts — potentially staving off catastrophe.

In terms of reach news of efficiency in communication, there are several new ways of looking at it. For instance, there are initiatives related to an existing software that allows consumers to see which appliances are most power hungry getting integrated into the data warehouse. If a customer's bill is high one month, instead of sending engineers to check the meter, the databases allow energy firms to know if the household has just added a new energy-intensive appliance. It would also allow utilities to notify customers if thier energy use is higher than usual, potentially heading off a particularly hefty bill. Conversely, the system would also be able to notify the energy company if the meter reading looked wrong, saving the customer and energy company time and money.

Commenting on selection of local devices and control systems online to create virtual control center without enterprise software, systems, or device-level integration, and how should they help in administering demand response (DR) programmes and manage energy consumption, Dr. Chebbo referred to integration of the virtual control center and enterprise software through an automated metering infrastructure.

"The smart meters should be the link between the HAN and the enterprise software. All the intelligence about the customers and their behaviour (in terms of consumption profiles) is in the enterprise software taking care of customer information system and assets management," said Dr. Chebbo.

Other than such software, going by the developments in the industry, it is clear that the focus is also coming up with in-home energy displays and smart meter solutions that enable utilities to put the end user in control.

And in terms of the exterior of such products, the onus is on companies to produce attractive products. And at the same time also add real value to this information by providing an intuitive web service that puts raw data into a usable context.

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