Smart metering is essential to hit cardon emission targets  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Smart Meters are hitting the news with ever increasing frequency (which means I really should pull my finger out and finish off a detailed post on them one day) - The (UK) Telegraph reports that "Smart metering alone will not make Britain meet its 2050 carbon emission targets. But the necessary cuts will not be made without them." - Smart metering is essential to hit 2050 cardon emission targets.

Tough times call for bold leadership and a steady hand. Never more so than today when the effects of the credit crunch are becoming more and more apparent.

As the wave of pain felt by financial markets washes across other sectors, there are some who claim that environmental issues should again be returned to the periphery.

This must not happen. As Lord Stern noted in his 2006 report into the economics of Climate Change, we are dangerously close to a tipping point when no amount of remedial action will be enough to counterbalance the damage caused in previous years of environmental negligence.

If Europe is to meet its 20-20-20 targets (increasing energy efficiency and share of renewable energy by 20 per cent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent) within 12 years and the UK is to honour it's even more ambitious pledge to cut carbon by 80 per cent by 2050, tough decisions must be made.

While economic circumstances today may not be ideal for a move away from coal and other carbon emitting fuels tomorrow, important steps can and should be taken to enhance energy efficiency and security of supply.

The UK and Europe as a whole must modernise and liberalise an ageing electricity grid, create economies of scale for renewable energy and promote consumer efficiency. None of which is possible without the introduction of the pre-requisite for the smart grid, smart meters.

The rationale behind smart meters is simple – by making it clear to consumers how much energy they are using and exactly what it is costing them, they are empowered to cut their usage and thus their bills. After all, unless you can measure something you can't be expected to accurately control it.

Utilities meanwhile, benefit from a two-way flow of data which enables them to manage use more efficiently and which will help them to solve one of the biggest bug-bears in the industry: estimated billing.

With significant technological progress and encouragement from lawmakers and regulators, smart metering is expected to revolutionise energy management and grid reliability across the globe.

A recent study suggests that meters are capable of delivering a 10 per cent cut in annual energy use. Another estimates that dynamic demand-side response in the EU could save electricity equivalent to the domestic consumption of Germany and Spain.

So the potential benefits are enormous. And not just in terms of increasing efficiency. As we step into the brave new world of renewable energy, we need a smart, flexible system that can manage intermittent sources of clean energy such as wind and solar and employ them in tandem with more traditional sources.

In short our current system needs to be upgraded to the digital era.

One building block for a smart grid is a smart home network that understands both dynamic power pricing and how much power each device is using - and which ones can be turned off if necessary. reports on Nokia's efforts to break into this emerging market - Nokia Develops a Smart Home Platform
Nokia redefines its business model by extending his hardware offerings to more solution and platform oriented offerings. After the decision to pull out from the Japanese market due to inadequate hardware for country specific requirements such DVB-TV, Electronic payment, etc.. Nokia announced today it is developing a smart home platform to offer Consumers New Ways to Control Their Homes With a Mobile Device.

Nokia Home Control Center. The platform is opening a new era for networked home services and solutions. Nokia’s Home Control Center will be the basis for next generation security, smart home solutions and household energy management systems.

The platform is open allowing third parties to integrate their own smart home solutions and services; its core consumer value is the plug and play experience across all solution areas with high security levels built in. All solutions based on the platform can be used through a smart phone or PC locally or remotely. Consumers can monitor and control their electricity usage, switch devices on and off, and monitor different objects, such as temperature, camera, and motion. In future, entire systems within the home can be connected to the Nokia platform, including security, heating, and ventilation systems.

"We see there is growth potential in the smart home market," said Teppo Paavola, Vice President, Head of Corporate Business Development, Nokia. "The home of today has intelligence everywhere, but to date there has not been a solution that is interoperable with wide range of home systems that can easily be controlled. We want to create an open solution where external partners can develop their own solutions and services on top of our platform.

We believe that the mobile device is an ideal interface to control home intelligence, especially when the user is not at home."

Nokia today also announced a partnership with one of Europe’s biggest energy companies, RWE. The co-operation aims at developing a comprehensive solution for managing energy consumption and CO2 footage at home. This cooperation combines RWE’s energy competence with Nokia’s technological know-how.

With this in mind, the first joint solution from Nokia and RWE on late 2009 will focus on home heating management. The product consists of a central control unit together with remote-controlled thermostats for the actual radiator. The user interface will be the PC and the mobile phone. In addition, a separate display will be available. RWE is also planning special offers combining these devices with new energy supply contracts. In a second step, Nokia and RWE are planning additional services in connection with smart meters beyond 2009. These services will provide consumers with real-time information about their energy consumption and allow them to control their energy bill remotely.


Not enough credit is being given to the high gas prices this past year and it's serious damage on our economy and society. That one factor alone has caused serious stress in both individuals and businesses. A record number of homes and jobs have been lost as a direct result. And, while we are doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps OPEC is announcing cuts to manipulate the prices upward again. We must get on with becoming energy independent.We can't take another year like this past. There is a wonderful new book out about the energy crisis and what it would take for America to become energy independent. It covers every aspect of oil, what it's uses are besides gasoline, our reserves, our depletion of it. Every type of alternative energy is covered and it's potential to replace oil. He even has proposed legislative agenda's that would be necessary to implement these changes along with time frames. This book is profoundly informative and our country needs to become more informed and move forward with becoming energy independent. Green technology would not only provide clean cheap energy it would create millions of badly needed new jobs. The Book is called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. Our politicians all need to read this book.

Smart meters are not the golden bullet often touted by environmentalists. They serve primarily to shift energy usage from peak times to off peak times, when energy is cheaper.

They also cost a lot of money, and there are cheaper ways of getting emission cuts. Here's the problem, the customer pays for the smart meter, which screws low-income households without significantly lowering emissions.

Why have the poor funding carbon programs that don't lower emissions? Regressive and ineffective.

Also, trials are showing high levels of behaviour fatigue, where the effect is good early on but dips when households get a new toy to play with.

Better to pump money into household retrofits (insulation, solar hot water systems, efficient appliances, etc) if saving emissions is your aim.

1. Shifting energy use from peak to non peak times results in dramatic savings in investment in capacity that is only needed for peak periods.

2. The savings made from not needing to build new plant and transmission capacity would far exceed the cost of the meters.

Customers don't *have* to pay for meters - that is just one option for paying for them. The utilities or government could also pay (given the savings involved the utilities really should pay for them).

3. Show me a study saying that customer behaviour doesn't change for long.

Also, if the smart meter is couped with the ability to control which devices are using energy (via the emerging home area network concept) then people's behaviour isn't a factor - they just configure their system and forget about the problem forevermore.

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