This winter’s cold temperatures in Northern Europe has caused risk for energy shortage. Authorities urges households to use their washing machine and other appliances during nights in order to mitigate power peaks. A smart grid project co-initiated by Electrolux could reduce this risk. In the project, households are testing a system for smart appliances that automatically detect and avoid consumption during peak periods of the day.
In order to bring forward a European standard for smart grids, Electrolux in autumn 2009 signed an agreement with Italian partners. This is an important first step for the application to spread widely in European homes in the future. The trial phase will run over 2010, and involve selected households throughout Italy.
The system also provides users with information on their power consumption directly on their computer, cell phone or on the display of the appliance itself. With easy access to information on consumption and the possibility to download customised programmes to help save energy, consumers will be able to use their appliances in a smart way. This will enhance the efficiency of the entire system. The residential sector consumes approximately one third of all electricity consumed in the EU, and large household appliances consume approximately one third of all residential electricity.
“Over the last years the industry has made an effort reducing the energy consumption and environmental footprint of appliances. The last week’s energy situation, points out the important role of energy smart appliances,” says Hans Stråberg, President and CEO of Electrolux. “Mainly this is an issue of community planning, but also an environmental issue. Avoiding power demand during peak periods will reduce the pressure on the power grid, making it possible for the society to avoid CO2 emissions, for example because we will then not have to rely on backup power from carbon and diesel power plant.”
During the trial phase, the partners will contribute with its most innovative high-tech solutions. The Italian energy provider Enel will provide its remote meter management system and applications, customised to enable communications with telecom infrastructure and household appliances. Telecom Italia will offer its broadband network platform, enabling the exchange of information between household appliances and Enel equipment. Electrolux will contribute with prototypes of smart appliances and applications to manage connections and the exchange of information in order to manage consumption.
In the next step, the opportunity to involve other partners will be evaluated. If successful, the system will be trialled by households in other countries.
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