Today’s world runs on oil and electricity. But if energy demands keep rising, so will its prices. We need smarter solutions to handle the consumption of electricity and other energy sources.
Electricity providers need regular metering status information to keep an eye on power consumption and to manage the network. About half of the power meters are already digital.
If electricity providers would be able to operate the appliances in households at a large scale and at industry consumers, the consumption of electricity will be much more balanced, and there would be less burden on the network. But this requires smart home solutions with devices connected to the internet that can be managed by power distributors. Electricity providers, as well as users, could benefit from cheaper electricity under certain conditions. And a new business model where with the help of modern technology, may allow consumers to choose from different electricity prices throughout the day.
Legislation as an obstacle
Electric companies are replacing classic analog meters with smart ones very intensively. Current legislation usually allows readings of the meters every fifteen minutes, which is far too rare for quality network management. It would be more convenient for an electricity provider to be able to read the meters every minute or even more frequently (5-10 sec), as this would allow for significantly better management of the power grid.
Trading privacy for lower energy bill
With the help of modern technology, households will be able to shape their electricity bill in the future. If they would prefer to, they would be able to keep electricity costs to a minimum. Once the smart homes will provide the electricity provider with the appropriate data, and leave the control, and remote management to their premises the price of the energy will decrease. In doing so, consumers will have to give up their privacy. Currently, smart home solutions do not yet allow such business models. Their main focus is on providing convenience to the end-user.
Here the philosophy from the telecommunication industry will rapidly be implemented in the power distribution systems.
A (big) data challenge
However, controlling the operation and management of smart home devices would require electricity providers to manage large amounts of data (the so-called Big Data) from various sources. It is also important that the technology used by the providers is interoperable with the technology on the side of the users. The basis, however, is set in smart meters that can be controlled remotely, but these do not provide access to individual devices in a (smart) home. This will be a matter of the contractual relationship between the provider and the client.
Managing energy consumption will be key to a healthy power grid
In the future, very large consumers of electricity will be electric cars. There are currently too few of them to significantly impact the grid. The first charging stations had a charging capacity of 15 kilowatts of power, while the most recent solutions are reaching 250 kilowatts. The infrastructure is not ready for such large electricity consumption. Therefore, the challenge will be to build a strong enough power grid to handle this demand. There could also be an even larger problem with rare materials, especially lithium for battery production.