With diminishing fossil fuel reserves, a rising global population, strong economic growth in developing countries and major concerns about our environment, controlling electricity consumption has become a serious and extremely challenging issue.
Installation of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines in homes has meant that electricity supply is no longer a one way system. Households connected to the grid can be suppliers of electricity as well as consumers. This has made bidirectional connectivity of metering mechanisms mandatory – so that not only is the utility able to monitor usage but distributed providers know how much electricity they are supplying back to the grid. Following on from this the networking of both gas and water meters to electricity metering systems via MBUS (EN 13757) technology is starting to become increasingly commonplace, says Bruno Damien, UK Nordic sales manager at ON Semiconductor.
Today electricity metering is going way beyond just keeping a simple tally of your usage, however. The more sophisticated mechanisms now in place are enabling retrieved data to be analysed in detail and, as a result, more effective measures can be taken to help households reduce their power consumption – thereby easing the strain on the network, curbing utility bills and potentially reducing the environmental impact caused by carbon emissions.
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is critical to a broad array of different functions that will have bearing on our daily lives. It will result not just in widespread smart grid deployment, but also smart homes and smart cities. Advances in connectivity and sensor technology are providing the foundation on which this smarter world will be built.
Connected light sensors, cameras, moisture sensors, temperature sensors and presence sensors can be utilised by home and building automation systems to acquire valuable information which will help ensure that energy is not wasted. Using various wireless and wireline connectivity options, this can be fed back to the cloud, so that it can be easily accessed as needed (from a tablet, smartphone, etc.). Furthermore, the specification of ultra-low power sensor devices, along with the use of energy harvesting, will mean that the power consumption this hardware requires will not swallow up the energy savings that have been derived.
The author of this blog is Bruno Damien, UK Nordic sales manager at ON Semiconductor.
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