The UK’s transmission network, National Grid, have recently deployed a new data system in a bid to enable smarter energy use with the creation of virtual power stations.
The new system has been created using technology by Reactive Technologies has been tested and could hopefully allow for the optimum use of more intermittent energy sources created from renewable technology. Data transmitted across the grid could be the first step to where these virtual power stations allow homes and business to manage their usage and potential generation in a more efficient and smart manner.
Privacy concerns are said to have been allayed with the new system claiming to be anonymous with zero data on household energy use collected. The commercial sector is to role out the technology first with traditional centralised power stations being replaced with decentralised grids and more renewable energy generation.
The UK government’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) have gone so far as to estimate that consumers could save £8bn a year by 2030 as a result.
The new system broadcasts messages through the grid to appliances depending on the level of demand in the network. The approach of using the grid to communicate rather than the internet, phone signal or radio is that it allows remotely located devices to be communicated with relatively easily.
The Guardian newspaper have stated that : “The new technology could lead to lower energy bills for consumers who allow small variations in the energy consumption of their appliances, such as water heaters or freezers. The flexibility provided by thousands of appliances combined could reduce peaks in energy use and remove the need for some large new gas or nuclear power stations or polluting diesel generator farms that are started up in times of short supply.”