image via DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
It's no secret that there are vast concerns in major utility companies operating a large smart grid connected to household smart meters that charge consumers a variable rate based on area usage. Unless individuals purchase updated products and tailor their daily habits to adjust for off-peak periods, which are generally considered to be weekends and weekday nights, monthly bills can ultimately rise.So far, however, the management of capacity at the macro-scale, and adverse economic affect at the micro-scale, is the only way to ensure power providers can avoid potential spikes, and even outages for users. A group of firms in the Netherlands are looking to challenge the centralized model of electricity service by grouping 25 homes together into a single network in the city of Groningen.
In addition to being connected together, the 25 homes were outfitted with solar panels, high efficiency boilers for a combined heat and power system, hybrid heat pumps, and smart appliances, as well as access to electric vehicles, all of which is monitored by the installed smart meters.
The reports claims the trial has optimized energy use, reduced grid load, and seen lower imbalances with help from some software tools. Moving forward, the project will focus on more real-world items, such as billing, expanding electric vehicle charging, and managing congestion at the district transformer. Although the homes are operating under very controlled and ideal situation, it does give home that smaller neighborhoods might someday be able to work together for stable electricity use.