Friday, October 19, 2012

Get Smart Meters: European Version

Ontario has smart meters - named as an homage to the classic "Get Smart" television show created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.
The European version has the same plot - expanded bureaucracy, universal requirement for a smart meter, massive capital spending by utilities with regulators allowing rich returns on the bloated subsequent equity valuation.  
All with no particular idea of how to accomplish anything with all the new hardware.
Promises to be just as funny in Europe as it has been here.

Picture from source article
It was a brief, but fascinating contest between two rather formidable opponents. Philip Lewis, founder and CEO of the prestigious VaasaETT Global Energy Think-Tank and Director of the Smart Energy Demand Coalition, widely considered a world authority on utility consumer psychology, told the audience at the smart energy conference in Amsterdam that consumers will enthusiastically participate in smart meter programs if they can make use of smart pricing systems and receive feedback through inhome displays. 
But Grégoire Wallenborn, physicist and philosopher, project leader of the Centre for Studies on Sustainable Development at the Free University of Brussels and prominent researcher into sustainable consumption patterns, begged to disagree. He said that scientifically validated studies show that consumers reduce their energy consumption by no more than between zero and 4% even if they can make use of inhome displays – and that only in the first year after a new system is installed.

The polite disagreement that showed up between these two recognised consumer behaviour experts demonstrates the great uncertainty still hovering over the smart energy market. In theory everybody agrees that smart energy systems (grids and meters) are needed to integrate intermittent renewable energies into the energy system, improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and better adjust demand to supply patterns. But there is no consensus on how to achieve this noble ideal in practice. The most critical (but not the only) question is no doubt how to get consumers involved.
Continue Reading at the European energy review:

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