Archive for the ‘microgeneration’ Category

Smart Homes: A look to the future – Smart metering and microgeneration

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

The current thinking is that smart homes will incorporate smart electricity meters by the supply authority (and metering operators). This will have the ability to monitor and administrate the export of electricity to the grid from homes generating their own energy on site. This will be of increasing value as microgeneration becomes more widespread.

Progress so far
The government aims to see smart electricity meters in all homes within the next ten years (i.e. by 2017). This ambition was set out in the 2007 energy white paper and was followed by a UK government consultation on metering and billing.

The main driver is the reduction in domestic carbon dioxide emissions that smart electricity meters are expected to provide.

In addition, the UK has to comply with the EU Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive by May 2008 and it is widely seen as a key opportunity to promote smart meters. As long as it is financially reasonable, the directive requires:

  • meters that accurately reflect energy consumption and provide information on time of use
  • billing based on actual consumption that is presented simply and frequently enough for customers to regulate energy consumption

Smart electricity meters are the obvious way to comply with these requirements. When paired with a display unit they will fulfil the first requirement and they will allow suppliers to meet the second, as consistently accurate and informative bills will only be possible once suppliers can remotely obtain meter readings through smart electricity meters.

Smart electricity meters are also key to the government’s vision of a shift in the energy industry to a business model where it becomes profitable for companies to work with their customers to lower energy use. Suppliers will need the information that smart electricity meters provide on how their customers are using energy if they are to work with them to reduce their use.

For these reasons we would like to see the government provide a mandate for a smart electricity meter roll out in the near future that requires smart electricity meters in all homes within 10 years. The roll out will not happen immediately, but setting a requirement will be an important first step that will enable energy companies to start making real progress. In the context of smart homes, smart electricity meters are a critical first step in enabling the spread of other smart features.