Will smart metering revolutionize the energy industry?


INSIGHT


    • SMART METERING IS PART OF A BROADER TREND IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE UNITED KINGDOM TO CONNECT ELECTRICITY GENERATORS, ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTORS AND END USERS. THE ADDED VALUE IS LIKELY TO BE MORE ACCURATE ESTIMATION OF ELECTRICITY GENERATION AND CONSUMPTION. THIS WILL HELP IN ESTIMATING AND FORECASTING ELECTRICITY DEMAND AND SUPPLY, WHICH WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT AS RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ARE INTEGRATED INTO ELECTRICITY GRIDS. IN THIS WAY, SMART METERING SYSTEMS AND SMART GRIDS ARE INTERCONNECTED, FORMING A VIRTUAL GRID SUPERIMPOSED ON THE PYHSICAL GRID.
    • SMART METERING PLAYS ANOTHER IMPORTANT ROLE AT THE CONSUMER LEVEL. SMART METERING FITS IN VERY WELL WITH THE IDEA OF THE SMART HOME. THE SMART HOME IS DESIGNED TO CONNECT ALL THE APPLIANCES AND TECHNICAL COMPONENTS OF YOUR HOME INTO AN ECOSYSTEM THAT IMPROVES ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND LIVING STANDARDS.



1. GERMANY WAS AN EARLY ADOPTER OF SMART METERING, ESPECIALLY AS THE COUNTRY EMBARKED ON THE PATH OF SWITCHING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY.


Smart metering has been an important part of the German energy system since 2014. This was also the time when the rollout was prepared throughout Germany to drive the growth of digitalization of energy markets at the end-user level. Since then, many households, commercial and industrial enterprises have received smart meters to monitor their electricity consumption at increasingly close intervals. This can be seen as preparation for business models in the energy sector that rely on artificial intelligence.

The truth is that the deployment of smart meters is quite limited. They rely on an entire energy ecosystem to work. A prerequisite for this is that the smart meter data flow be integrated into the broader data infrastructure. To achieve this, data security measures must be considered. This adds another layer to the already sophisticated, not to say complicated, technical infrastructure required to manage and control data flows through smart meter gateways and store data on servers, not only for regulatory oversight but also for administrative management. This is also quite energy intensive in and of itself. After all, the goal here is to reduce energy use and achieve energy savings. How is one supposed to achieve this goal by going through so many technical loops?

The point of the exercise is to improve grid stability in order to use BESS less and improve the performance of power transformers. Smart meters are intended to do just that, as smart meters allow shorter time intervals for measurements.

In addition, smart meters allow utilities to charge different rates for different customer segments. For example, multi-person households may pay a different rate than single households. Customers can also choose their own rates, such as nighttime and daytime rates. Such measures could be taken relatively easily.

In addition, smart meters make much more sense if electric vehicles become the norm and customers can charge their electric vehicles at home. This might even require legislative changes in countries like Germany to allow landlords to provide and charge their tenants for electricity.

It’s hard to say what the added value of smart meters is right now, as they are still being rolled out and are not fully implemented for the foreseeable future.

If you would like to read more on this and similar topics, we have provided a link to our website below. There you can read more on the topic of “Digitization of the energy industry“.

 

2. CONCLUSION


    • Smart metering has not yet fully taken hold in Germany, although great progress has already been made. Smart metering may require further steps to create the right regulatory environment. More importantly, the success of smart metering depends on other important steps that need to be taken as part of the German energy transition. In particular, incentives need to be created for end users and businesses to accept and adopt smart metering as part of a larger vision of a viable business model for all.

    • In the United Kingdom, smart metering has been similarly successful. But similar to Germany, the UK has had limited success in rolling out and implementing smart meters. In a broader European context, there appears to be little incentive for end users and businesses to implement smart meters. Many companies see little business value in smart meter solutions.


    • Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!



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