Monitoring neighbourhood electricity consumption

Jul 04, 2014
If better use could be made of solar energy, with less need for storage capacity, residents' electricity bills would be reduced considerably. Credit: NTNU

With more and more households owning one or even two electric cars requiring charging overnight, how will we manage without sacrificing our hot morning shower and fresh bread for breakfast?

This is the headache now facing the companies. But this isn't their only problem. What use is it to those homeowners, who have installed a modest solar panel system on their roofs, when the sun is cracking the pavements in the middle of the day and no-one at home to use the energy? Batteries with sufficient are expensive, and many homeowners are reluctant to invest in them.

From problem to potential

But we mustn't despair. The EU project CoSSMic, which started last year, aims to develop a system that will control in the home automatically and even out the peak load across whole neighbourhoods – resulting in less need for storage.

If better use could be made of , with less need for storage capacity, residents' would be reduced considerably.

Based on residents' needs

SINTEF is heading the project, which is now in the process of developing a new ICT system.

"Electricity consumption will be controlled automatically, and will be based on rules drawn up by the neighbourhood residents or building owners", explains Svein Olav Hallsteinsen at SINTEF.

"For example, the system will ensure that not all are charged at the same time, but in sequence. The cars will still be fully charged when their owners want to use them, and the same goes for heating and cooling systems such as hot water boilers, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines.

Technology already available

One of the main objectives of the project is to even out the peak load across a neighbourhood, and most of the technology needed to achieve this is already available. Freezers and boilers that can communicate with solar panel systems are already on the market. The can store surplus energy at a reduced temperature in the freezer (-25 degrees Celsius) or at an increased temperature in the boiler (90 degrees Celsius). And clothes and dishes can be washed in sequence – there will be no need for the machines to plough through their entire programmes in one go.

Testing

The system will be tested in two installations in Germany and Italy, and the households involved will participate actively in their design. At the same time, the researchers will have to ensure that data security can be maintained so that it won't be possible to sabotage or hack into the system and gain access to sensitive data.

Explore further: Germany sets record for peak energy use – 50 percent comes from solar (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nissan Leafs can now power the office, as well as the home

Dec 17, 2013

Nissan has carried out a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work. "Vehicle-To-Building" ...

Storage heaters as buffers for wind power

Nov 18, 2013

As reported in the latest issue of Pictures of the Future, Siemens and RWE are planning to use storage heaters to make surplus solar and wind power more usable. In the RWE Wind Heating project, the two co ...

Energy storage seen as next step for 'green' power

Jun 11, 2014

First, Randy Ross bought a Chevrolet Volt. Faced with the need to charge his car and eager to cut his utility bill, he installed solar panels on the roof of his Pleasanton, Calif., home.

Recommended for you

The state of shale

21 hours ago

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.