The "Smart Energy" Revolution Keeping Britain's Lights On

By Gary Cutlack on at

The boss of the National Grid thinks that better managing our existing network of power generation might help us avoid the menace of the electricity blackouts we're constantly being warned are on the way, with an "internet of energy" making us less reliant on massive new generation infrastructure.

Exec director Nicola Shaw told the BBC that up to 50 per cent of energy fluctuations could be smoothed out by better adjustments being made by households and businesses, saying: "We are at a moment of real change in the energy industry. From an historic perspective we created energy in big generating organisations that sent power to houses and their businesses. Now we are producing energy in those places -- mostly with solar power."

While the benefits of using cheaper off-peak electricity to businesses are clear, more needs to be done to tell homeowners when's the cheapest time to stick the washing machine on. The key driver of the "smart energy" future will come from better signalling to customers when they might want to put the oven on, with the hope being that the Internet of Things might actually have some sort of use in reminding us that the sun's just come out, so the panels are working, so the electricity is cheaper, so get inside and save a few fractions of a pence on doing the vacuuming; or have your smart plug switch on all the chargers. [BBC]

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