VentureBeat reports that whitegoods maker Whirlpool is getting into the "smart appliances" market - Whirlpool leaps into Smart Grid game with 1M smart dryers by 2011.
Since the move toward a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid picked up speed last year, it’s been a land grab for goliaths like General Electric, IBM, Intel and Cisco Systems. Today, there’s a new player on the field: Major appliance maker Whirlpool is promising to deliver 1 million Smart Grid-compatible clothes dryers by 2011. ...
The new dryers will be able to receive signals from home energy grids telling them whether to turn their power consumption up or down or off entirely based on what else is going on with the grid or in the building. For example, during expensive peak energy periods, it could tone down how much power it is drawing from the grid (by switching to no-heat spin cycles), or choose to dry the clothes at a different time in order to conserve energy and, more importantly, lower people’s electricity bills. Whirlpool says its smart dryers could save people $20 to $40 a year. At the same time, 1 million of them (about a quarter the number of dryers the company produces each year) could save the equivalent of the amount of power generated by 10 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. That accounts for a chunk of greenhouse gas emissions savings as well.
The New York Times also has a story on the topic - Home Appliances Are Starting to Wise Up .
General Electric Co. has announced it will roll out by November its first commercial smart appliance, a hybrid electric heat pump water heater. The company said the pump will save consumers $250 a year in energy costs, with the opportunity to save more through automatic 85 percent reductions in peak-hour energy consumption.
Other "demand response" appliances expected to enter the market are refrigerators able to delay defrost cycles and dishwashers that delay operation until overall energy demands decline at night. Taken together, smart grid-enhanced home appliances could shave up to 7 percent off U.S. peak demand through 2019, according to a recent report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
But such reductions will require the rapid deployment of smart appliances and meters able to communicate with utilities through a mix of wireless or land-based networks. FERC estimates that there are about 8 million smart meters installed in homes today, with several million more expected after DOE releases its next round of stimulus awards.