Why is the European Commission backing smart meters?
Tuesday 5th April 2011
Commission (EC) recently announced it is betting on smart metering and
tougher power consumption rules for electronics to help get Europe
on track to meet its energy efficiency targets. The EC also highlighted that if
Europe continues its current consumption
patterns, it would achieve only half of its target of improving energy
efficiency by 20 per cent by 2020.
While it’s encouraging that the EC has recognised the
need to boost its energy savings efforts, as the energy commissioner Günther
Oettinger pointed out, the EU will need to take decisive and coordinated action
on energy efficiency in order to reach its 2020 goals.
According to the commission, smart grids and smart meters
will serve as a backbone for this approach, enabling smart appliances and
But, while I agree that smart meters have a key to
play in helping European governments, utility providers and energy users better
manage power consumption, they need to get smarter still. For the smart meter
roll-outs to be an effective catalyst to energy efficiency, they will have to
provide energy users with access to in-depth data on energy usage at an
individual appliance level.
Trials are underway across the UK, including
an in-depth study currently being run by Navetas. But it waits to be seen
whether the current approach to smart meters goes far enough. Accurate billing
and a simple display will give some benefit to UK
households, but in my view, disaggregation technology is critical to maximise
the effectiveness of smart metering across Europe
and the resulting energy savings.
A thorough understanding of
energy consumption patterns will empower governments, utility provider,
businesses, the industrial sector and households across Europe
with the ability to initiate lasting changes in behaviour to ensure the EC achieves
its energy efficiency targets
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