Written by Nikolina Šajn,
Smart appliances could help shift demand away from peak periods, which is important for an electricity system that relies on variable renewable energy sources. Most of this move will have to be automated, with smart appliances communicating with the electricity system. However, this is contingent on solving issues regarding the interoperability necessary for coordinating multiple smart appliances and households. It will also require the roll-out of smart meters and dynamic electricity prices, as well as making ‘demand response’ possible in various energy markets.
While consumers seem to have a positive attitude to smart appliances, they are not willing to change their habits unless they achieve substantial financial savings, and are not inclined to deal with control interfaces that are too complicated. Studies show that they are worried about the reliability, privacy and security of these new technologies.
Use of smart appliances could significantly benefit the electricity system when it comes to matching supply and demand in the grid, short-term balancing of the system, and reducing consumption. It could reduce the need for fossil fuel back-up and be conducive to an increased use of wind power. While the benefits seem to be many, the costs are not always clear. The European Commission recognises the potential of smart appliances and advocates development of smart infrastructure. The European Parliament seems to agree, as long as this benefits the consumer and affords a high level of data and privacy protection.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Smart appliances and the electrical system‘.