Intelligent Energy Management
For the first time ever, UK scientists have transmitted data through the national electricity grid successfully. This achievement has started a movement towards the creation of virtual power stations, where businesses and homes combine, to manage their energy use more carefully.
This new technology can lead to lower energy bills for consumers who are willing to allow small variations in the energy consumption of their appliances, such as from freezers and heaters.
The New Technology
The system allows the optimum use of intermittent renewable energy – a significant feature given the fast-rising proportion of green energy on the grid.
The new system is used to send messages to appliances asking them to alter their energy use. These messages are sent through national electricity cables to all appliances connected with a smart plug to the mains.
How it Works
Previously, electricity cables have been used to transmit data within local networks and homes through sending high frequency data beside the standard 50Hz signal. This new technology created by Reactive Technologies inserts data of minor changes in the 50Hz signal. Once electricity demand becomes higher or lower, the system will broadcast a message through the grid which is received by the connected appliances.
In order for Reactive Technologies to test this new technology, a number of electrical devices were set up throughout the UK to generate the messages and 20 listening receivers connected via only the National Grid were installed in other locations. Once the messages were sent out, they were received successfully, marking the technology’s first significant milestone.
What it Means
The combination of appliances using this flexible system could remove the need for new nuclear power or gas stations, reduce the peaks in energy use and the need for polluting farms powered by diesel generators, which are used in times of short supply.
The NIC released an estimation that consumers in the UK could save £8 bn each year by 2030 as a result of adopting smart power technology. This will also help the nation reach the climate change target.
As opposed to smart meters being demonstrated by the UK government, the new system is anonymous, with zero data on household energy use being collected. This, therefore, avoids any concerns about privacy.
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