The Smart Grid

Element - - Business -

One of the most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments in clean­tech in the com­ing years will be how we wire it all to­gether. For ex­am­ple, run­ning our econ­omy al­most ex­clu­sively on re­new­able power, and mak­ing the tran­si­tion to a plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cle fleet on New Zealand’s roads will re­quire us to make changes in elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion. Just in­stalling the lat­est smart me­ters that al­low en­ergy mon­i­tor­ing of­fers an es­ti­mated 5% re­duc­tion in en­ergy use across the econ­omy, which could save more than $125. But the re­ally ex­cit­ing bit is that smart me­ters al­low cus­tomers and power com­pa­nies to iron out the ‘peaks’ in en­ergy use, as we have al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced in hot wa­ter cylin­der con­trol. This will make the use of re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion eas­ier and re­duce the need for fos­sil-fuel ‘back up’ elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors. Smart me­ter­ing also en­ables power to be sold back to the grid by the next gen­er­a­tion of lo­calised or even home-based so­lar panels and wind tur­bines.

Vec­tor sub­sidiary Ad­vanced Me­ter­ing Ser­vices has in­stalled 450,000 smart me­ters across the coun­try. Th­ese have been ‘fu­ture-proofed’ with switch­able com­po­nents so that they can be up­graded as the tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to de­velop world­wide. And Mer­cury En­ergy’s Good En­ergy Mon­i­tor (GEM) uses smart me­ter data that feeds to an on­line tool­kit to pro­vide cus­tomers with in­sights into their en­ergy use ev­ery half hour.

Ge­n­e­sis En­ergy’s To­mor­row Street, where the com­pany is test­ing a va­ri­ety of en­ergy sav­ing in­no­va­tions, pro­vides a glimpse of what this kind of fu­ture might look like.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.