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Smart metering: a precursor to the smart grid?

Forecasting for the year ahead, I’m gazing into Envirodigital’s crystal ball enhanced laptop to suggest what the enviro digital developments will be over 2010…

  • Installing a smart meter will be a trend for 2010. If you’ve got the data about what energy you’re using, then it’ll encourage better energy saving behaviour – smarter human behaviour.
  • We may begin to see more organisational smart grids emerging too. IPv6 means that trillions of IP addresses have become available: enough for devices to have one each. This means that you’ll be able to collect and analyse data about the energy usage of individual devices/elements in your organisation, and send them instructions to turn off/charge now/etc.
  • We might begin to see the emergence of a national smart grid: energy will be costed according to demand levels as well as for usage, so with our organisational smart grids telling us when we’re using the most power, we might be able to buy it at a cheaper time. Scheduling technical rehearsals to coincide with a low cost time zone could achieve great cost savings, for example.
  • Installing self-sufficient energy creating technologies would then mean that organisations might be able to sell back to the grid excess energy generated.
  • Mobile phone numbers are still on the rise, and people will start to do more with them. How is this good for the environment? Surfing the web for an hour on a mobile phone generates c. 0.5g carbon. The same activity on a laptop will generate c. 400g carbon. Due to the potential number of them being in the world, Mobile phone manufacturers are working far harder than computer manufacturers to ensure that the casing and components are more recyclable and biodegradeable too.