Smart grid round-up: Korea calls for less red tape plus US innovation and collaboration

Korea Smart Grid Association Koo Ja-kyun calls for governmet help to boost smart grid
Korea Smart Grid Association chairman Koo Ja-kyun said the government needs to do more to support the development of the smart grid industry

In Asia, Chairman of the Korea Smart Grid Association Koo Ja-kyun has called for more government assistance to boost the local smart grid industry, according to a report in the Korean Times.

Mr Koo told attendees at a seminar last week in the South Korean capital Seoul that if Korea wants to promote the smart grid market, “close cooperation is crucial between the government and private companies”.

Koo said that the association will push government agencies and offices to deal with pending issues that are blocking the development of its smart grid industry.

He went on to say that Korean companies could benefit from the global smart grid trend, but caution that “if [they] fail to keep up with the trend, their long-term growth will remain constrained due to growing technological complexity.”

In October 2014, South Korea’s state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) unveiled a strategy to turn its smart grid technologies into a global export.

KEPCO said it plans to spend US$155 million between 2015 and 2017 on developing technologies that will reduce spending on power.

North Carolina collaboration

In US smart grid news, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and Koolbridge Solar have agreed to work together to support the development of Koolbridge’s smart energy management technology.

A five-year agreement with the North Carolina center will see the US state providing market and technical guidance for the development of Koolbridge’s Smart Load Center, which is a smart circuit breaker panel for integrating solar power and batteries with a residential or commercial building’s loads and the electric grid, according to a statement last week.

According to Koolbridge chief executive, Stephen Burnett, the Smart Load Center is “a circuit breaker panel married to a small computer that meets a home’s demands with the cheapest electricity by transferring loads from the grid to a local solar and battery system when the sun is shining.”

The system is able to manage self generated, and utility energy.

The system is also able to communicate with smart appliances, enabling them to “limit their power use during high-cost periods”.

Wireless smart meter for solar

Smart meter wireless connectivity for solar devices
Sungevity Energy Hub wirelessly connects with a smart meter to offer real-time data on energy consumption

And finally, Sungevity, a Californian solar service company, has added a wireless smart meter connectively device to its portfolio.

The Sungevity Energy Hub connects wirelessly with a smart meter and gives homeowners real time data on energy consumption every five to seven seconds.

The purpose is to help users better manage their own electricity usage with solar production and manage overall costs.

“As solar adoption continues to accelerate, homeowners are looking for more than just panels on their roof,” Peter Graf, chief product officer at Sungevity, said in a statement.

Mr Graf said: “We know customers crave transparency and insight that enables them to tailor their energy use for optimal savings – the Sungevity Energy Hub is the tool they’ve been waiting for.”

The company has stated that it has already incorporated the system into Sungevity’s Energy System and all new customers will get the device pre-installed at no extra cost.

Users interested in adding Sungevity Energy Hub to their energy systems will have to wait till next year for the product to hit the market.

In April this year, Sungevity announced a partnership with Sonnenbatterie, a smart energy storage provider.

The partnership aimed to allow Sungevity to offer its Sonnenbatterie smart energy storage systems to its network of customers in the US and Europe, starting in the second half of 2015.