Smart grids is composed of those communications technologies that increase the level of efficiency to allow operators to balance supply and demand across the network. The intrinsic intermittent nature of renewable energy sources , such as wind power makes this development key for the future of such energies. Furthermore so called "advanced" smart grids will allow electricity companies some control over customers’ appliances, for instance by turning on washing machines at night when electricity was cheaper and wind plentiful, or turning down fridges at times of high demand.
The beauty of this concept is that it is here and now. Reading the FT on August 10th, on the online comments section we read a description of how the EU smart grids are developing (from Masa Serdarevich). This include:
- the EU setting a target to have 80% of the household with smart meters by 2020.
- To move from today's EU installed based of 53m meters to more than 200m by the end of the decade
- To the development of different companies competing for this market,
- How already in Italy Enel together with california based company Echelon has already implemented 27m units!!! and it is on the making to launch a project in Spain for another 13m roll out.
One more sign for optimism and in the right direction? We can read on the online edition of the FT on July 26th how "...Ofgem is to change its rules to make it easier for energy companies to raise from customers the £32bn needed to help modernise the electricity grid, in an abrupt reversal of the principles of post-privatisation regulation"
The UK is clearly of the European countries far behind so time to react
Link to FT online edition news on Ofgem smart grid decision