6.2 Other innovations: smart energy systems
In some areas, such as renewables, the technologies are likely to be relatively familiar – solar, wind and wave power, for example. In others, this may not be the case. Smart energy systems require smart grids – intelligent electricity delivery systems, in which suppliers and consumers are all interconnected through a network. Smart meters in homes and businesses transmit information on consumption back to energy providers who can automatically bring down consumption if demand is too high. The UK Government has announced its intention to extend smart metering to all households by 2020 and sees this as an important part of the transition to a low-carbon economy, giving consumers and providers more control over their energy use and carbon emissions. Beyond metering, smart buildings may form an important part of future energy systems, with integrated functions including lighting (presence detection and intelligent shading), heating/ventilation (individual room control and sun shading), climate control and energy management. Grid connection and microgeneration can reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions by increasing the use of renewable energy sources.