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Smart grid guides for smart appliances

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) recently issued The Home Appliance Industry’s Principles & Requirements for Achieving a Widely Accepted Smart Grid during the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Smart Appliances will reduce peak energy demand and make the electrical power grid more efficient. For example, a Smart refrigerator or clothes dryer could defer a portion of its operating cycle to a time of day when true energy costs are lower and power generation is ample. Not only will this save the consumer money through reduced electric bills, but it will help reduce the need for additional power plants. The white paper released in Copenhagen and available at www.aham.org/smartgrid emphasizes that consumer choice, control and security must be a priority in the development of a Smart Grid. It outlines the three essential requirements of a widely accepted Smart Grid:

  1. Pricing Rate Structure and Incentives to Consumers: To provide the maximum incentive to consumers to take advantage of Smart Appliances, residential electricity prices must be based on time of use. Strong consideration should be given to the development of uniform pricing and usage information standards that provide for a harmonized way of communicating local rate and timing information. If done right, time of use electricity pricing will not require people to change their behavior to save money and help the environment.
  2. Communication Standards: Standards and protocols for communications with Smart Appliances must be open and limited in number across all utility districts. This will allow appliance manufacturers to produce for a national marketplace so the same Smart Appliance can contribute to the Smart Grid whether in a home in Florida or in Oregon.
  3. Consumer Choice & Privacy: If consumers do not use Smart Appliances, then the vision of the Smart Grid is at risk. While Smart Appliances must work seamlessly with electric utilities in a fully functional Smart Grid system, the consumer must always have control over the appliance. If a consumer wishes to override deferral of an appliance function and incur a higher electricity rate, they should be able to make such a choice. The boundary of the utility’s reach should end at the smart meter. The purpose of the Smart Grid is to provide more efficient use of energy, not for utilities to control or monitor appliance usage.

AHAM says it is optimistic that with proper coordination, cooperation and communication among the various Standards Development Organizations, associations, government agencies and companies, the Smart Grid vision can be achieved. To view AHAM’s Smart Grid white paper, go to http://www.aham.org/smartgrid

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