Smart fridges coming to British households


Lord Hunt,
Minister for Energy
Swindon, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — December 5, 2008 – British energy supplier npower has embarked on a project with clean technology company RLtec to trial “smart” fridges fitted with dynamic demand technology in homes across the U.K.

Dynamic demand is a new technology that is installed in non-time critical appliances such as fridges and freezers, in order to assist in maintaining the balance between supply and demand across the national electricity grid. Appliances fitted with dynamic demand automatically modify their power consumption in response to second-by-second changes in the balance between supply and demand on the grid – without affecting the appliance’s performance. This means that the amount of carbon emitting generating capacity used to maintain that balance can be dramatically reduced.

The technology has the potential to create a “virtual” power station and if widely used in the U.K. – an estimated 40 million appliances – could save annually as much as 1.74 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and £222 million in generation fuel costs.

The trial is the first demonstration action to be approved by the regulator Ofgem under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) legislation and will contribute towards npower’s carbon reduction obligations.

“Dynamic demand is an exciting technology with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the grid’s capacity to absorb wind energy – key elements of the government’s energy strategy for renewables,” said Minister for Energy Innovation, Lord Hunt. “The trial will help us gain a better understanding of how dynamic demand can work to reduce our use of fossil fuels. If successful it could help pave the way for the uptake of this technology nationwide.”

Dynamic demand technology has undergone rigorous laboratory testing and will be trialled in a number of stages. In the first phase, 300 fridges will be distributed to analyze the performance of the technology in appliances in everyday use. Following this initial rollout, a total of 3,000 fridges and freezers of different types and models will be deployed so that the carbon savings from dynamic demand can be assessed and calculated against a full range of variables.

According to a new study “The potential for dynamic demand” produced for the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change by the Centre for Sustainable Electricity and Distributed Generation (SEDG), in addition to reductions in CO2 emissions and system operation costs, another potential benefit of dynamic demand is an increase in the system’s ability to absorb more wind power, in a scenario with a significant penetration of wind combined with potentially less flexible nuclear.