Monday, January 22, 2007

Energy in the Line of Sight

NPR (realplayer link) had an interesting story this morning on Southern California Edison's Advanced Metering Infrastructure Lab's work on "smart meters." The idea is to allow customers to get real-time information on their energy costs, with alerts as to when prices are high and conservation is needed. In the future, the lab hopes to use these meters to allow consumers to create energy profiles to minimize their energy usage. The program was started in response to the energy crisis of 2001, and is slated to replace all of SCE's meters by 2012.

In addition, the AMI has equipped these meters with communications links to allow them to communicate with the "smart" appliances and thermostats of the future. They'll be the digital "central nervous system" of its power operations, sending back data that the utility will use to make its power generation and purchasing decisions.

Who said utility companies were boring?

1 comment:

Gordon Rowe said...

I think this space going to be very interesting in the future. As more decentralized generating techniques (solar, wind, etc) are adopted for environmental reasons, there will be an industrial response to track and manage all of the power input coming from the edges of the grid.