Japanese authorities are looking to change the way the country uses energy by installing smart meters in every home and business by the early 2020s and 5.3m fuel cells installed in homes nationwide by 2030.
A Californian based company that specialises in engaging customers with the utility industry, Opower, has launched what it is calling a Behavioral Demand Response (BDR) system that tells customers how to reduce energy without needing a smart meter in their home.
The Opower BDR allows utility companies to deploy a cost-effective demand response service to all their customers, regardless of having a meter. Opower BDR can inform customers of their household electricity usage and offer tips and advice to reduce peak usage, specific to their own home. It will alert users via web, text, phone or print of specific measures they can take to reduce energy at peak times.
The system comes after five years of research that showed householders reduced energy use when informed of their energy use compared with other households in the area.
The Opower BDR can be deployed as a standalone solution for cost-effective demand response without devices, or used in conjunction with existing direct load control programmes.
Customer participation in household demand response initiatives has been low, often due to lack of understanding on the customer’s side and the cost of installing metering devices in homes.
A smart grid pilot project is to be implemented in Worcester, Massachusetts, US by the National Grid to demonstrate the uses of available technology to improve energy efficiency.
Its aim is to provide energy customers with choice and control over the energy they use to empower customers to save energy, while increasing electric service reliability and improving response to power outages.
National Grid has amassed a team of experts to work on the project to construct and deliver an end-to-end smart grid pilot including smart meters, advanced communications technologies, in-home energy management tools, devices for electric system automation, as well as customer outreach and education, project management, integration and evaluation.
Unlike other smart grid trials in the US, customer engagement is key. Customers choose their level of involvement and can receive information about their energy use via the website and downloadable app. Pricing options will be available so customers can save energy and money at different times of day.
National Grid will also be researching the option of full integration of renewable energy sources, installing EV charging stations and connecting energy storage to existing renewable projects.