- 27 Feb 2012
Residential smart grid projects have resulted in energy savings of up to 19.5 percent, and produce average savings of 3.8 percent, according to research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Recent smart grid policy initiatives in the United States and the EU have led to large-scale research projects investigating the use of real-time feedback technologies that leverage data provided by smart meters and provided the source material for ”Results from Recent Real-Time Feedback Studies.” ACEEE has called the average savings “modest but encouraging.”
ACEEE surveyed nine pilots in the US, UK and Ireland, all using different combinations of technology and customer rate structures. The top-scoring project was in Northern Ireland and yielded an average 19.5 percent reduction by combining real-time power use feedback with customer prepayment plans -- an indication that people who’ve already paid for their power are likely to keep a closer eye on how they’re using it.
In contrast, two projects ACEEE surveyed actually yielded no average efficiency benefits at all, even though they also delivered real-time information to households.
One of those projects, carried out by Commonwealth Edison from 2009 to 2010, shows an interesting set of factors that add up to that poor overall figure. ComEd didn’t ask customers to opt into the project, instead automatically enrolling customers into a variety of different combinations of plans, in an “opt-out” method.
Among those that didn’t back out, a subset of customers enrolled in critical peak pricing programs drop energy use by an average of 21.8 percent during peak events, ACEEE found. But the majority of customers enrolled into the program made little use of the new energy data and restructured rate plans, leveling out the average savings to zero.
ACEEE’s findings reinforce the idea that willing “early adopters” may be the most valuable initial market for in-home energy technology. hoping to get the biggest bang for their buck in home energy management deployments. 27 Feb. 2012.