Australian news, and some related international items

The role of the smart meter in Australia’s renewable energy future

Challenge 13: smart energy demand and renewable supply “….The Conversation, Mark Diesendorf argues that it is high time we got smart about power: how we generate it and how we deliver it. 26 June 12

Global challenge 13: How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?
“……..Question 13 was posed by the Millennium Project in a global context. However, when applied to Australia and other rich countries, the assumption that energy demand should continue to grow must be challenged at the outset.

There is huge potential for increasing the efficiency of energy use through technological improvements (known as “energy efficiency”) and reducing the demand for energy services by fostering behavioural changes (known as “energy conservation”). These are the cheapest and fastest ways of cutting unnecessary energy demand. The key foci are buildings (including the appliances and equipment they contain) and industry.
In the near future, a new tool will become widely available for monitoring and reducing electricity demand: the smart meter as a component of the “smart grid”. A smart meter can monitor a consumer’s electricity demand continuously and can display that demand in real time to both the consumer and the distant electricity utility.

In a system where electricity price varies by time of day, a very smart meter could be programmed by the consumer to switch off certain circuits (e.g., air conditioning) temporarily when electricity prices reach a certain level. When there is a high peak in demand or a failure in part of the supply system, the utility could also remotely and temporarily turn off a customer or one or more of their appliances via the smart meter or other devices……

The job creation potential in energy auditing and in manufacturing and installing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is substantial. The current subsidies to the production of petrol-guzzling cars should be shifted to the sustainable energy technologies and to retraining auto-workers to build renewable energy hardware. Australia could manufacture components that are too large to import at low cost, such as wind turbine blades and mirrors for solar power stations.

We must finally discard the notion that Australia’s role in the global economy is restricted to that of a quarry for fossil fuels and minerals. Australia could be a manufacturer of sustainable energy systems and, in the long term, a major exporter of solar hydrogen to countries that are less blessed with renewable energy resources.

June 26, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency

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