Load: Electric Tank-Style Water Heater
Smart Solution: Radio-Controlled High-Power Control Box
Another home and business load that can be made “smart” is the electric tank-style water heater. This load can be turned off and then back on—without the customer even being aware—with a radio-controlled high-power control box, such as the Converge Digital Control Unit. Like the RCT, this interface device receives wireless signals via the smart meter, which then signals the utility. Other possible loads to be controlled include dishwashers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, and swimming-pool pumps.
All of this new technology adds up to energy conservation and cost savings for power customers. In 2007, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory launched a year-long energy-use study of 112 households. They found that advanced technologies enable consumers to be active participants in improving power grid efficiency and reliability, while saving money in the process. On average, consumers who participated in the project saved approximately 10% on their electricity bills.
“As demand for electricity continues to grow, smart grid technologies such as those demonstrated in the Olympic Peninsula [NW Washington state] area will play an important role in ensuring a continued delivery of safe and reliable power to all Americans,” says Kevin Kolevar, DOE Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. “The department remains committed to working with industry to research, develop, and deploy cutting-edge technologies to power our electric grid and help maintain robust economic growth.”
Now, that’s truly smart.
Mark Hazen is an electronics engineer and the author of several electronics textbooks, plus a book about renewable energy. Mark created evhelp.com in 2007 to help others convert petroleum-based vehicles to electricity.
Smart Metering Devices:
Aztech Associates Inc. • www.aztechinc.com • In-home display
Energate • www.energate.ca • Radio-controlled thermostat
GE Energy • www.geenergy.com • Smart meters
Google • www.google.org/powermeter/ • PowerMeter
HomePlug Alliance • www.homeplug.org
LS Research • www.lsr.com/smartenergy/ • RateSaver monitor
National Energy Technology Lab, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) • www.netl.doe.gov
Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 • www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-6
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) of 2008 • www.financialstability.gov
“National Energy Technology Laboratory, A Systems View of the Modern Grid—Improved Interfaces and Decision Support,” Appendix B5 • www.netl.doe.gov/moderngrid/docs/ASystemsViewoftheModernGrid_Final_v2_0.pdf
“National Energy Technology Laboratory, A Systems View of the Modern Grid—Advanced Components,” Appendix B3 • www.netl.doe.gov/moderngrid/docs/Advanced%20Components_Final_v2_0.pdf
Olympic Peninsula Project • www.pnl.gov/news/release.asp?id=285