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UK energy system gets smart

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Smart meters will be rolled out through energy suppliers to every home by the end of 2020 under final plans published on 2nd December 2009 by UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt. A paper setting out the case for developing smart grids in the UK was also being published. The main results of the Government’s response to the smart meter consultation include: all homes will have smart meters from their supplier by end of 2020; smart energy use will save consumers money, make electricity use more efficient and cut carbon emissions; £6 million are foreseen to develop smart technology.

Lord Hunt said: “A global climate deal in Copenhagen needs all countries to make the most ambitious commitments possible, but it will also require all of us to change how we lead our lives and how we generate our energy. ... Smart meters will put the power in people’s hands, enabling us all to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills. ... Smart grids will help manage the massive shift to low carbon electricity such as wind, nuclear and clean fossil fuels. ... Globally the business of developing smart grids has been estimated at £27 billion over the next 5 years and the UK has the know-how to be part of that.”

The Government’s response to the smart meter consultation sets out how smart meters will be rolled out across Britain by the end of 2020. This includes:
  • Making energy suppliers responsible for installing smart meters in their customers’ homes
  • Supplying a standalone display device with meters to make it easy for consumers to see and understand their energy use and carbon emissions in real time
  • Centrally coordinating the communications between smart meters and the utility companies to ensure easy switching between suppliers, and to provide a platform for the development of smarter grids in the future.
“Smarter Grids: The Opportunity”, also published today, makes the case for developing smart grids in the UK. Smart grids will give operators and consumers much more information about supply and demand of electricity – enabling more effective interaction between consumer needs and fluctuating supplies. Specifically smart grids will:
  • Deliver electricity more efficiently and reliably - reducing the costs and emissions from electricity generation and transmission
  • Facilitate increased generation of low carbon electricity sources such as wind
  • With smart meters, give consumers more control and choice of when they use electricity allowing them to save money.
DECC is also providing £6 million to companies to continue developing smart technology such as electricity storage.