Smart Energy GB analyses impact of smart grid in rural communities


Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive at Smart Energy GB, said the paper is an analysis of projects in which innovative grid technologies and new business models are employed to help energy providers match energy demand with supply.

According to the findings of the research, new grid solutions including advanced metering infrastructure are helping consumers in rural areas improve their energy efficiency.

Smart meters provide energy users with a breakdown of their energy consumption to enable them to monitor and manage their energy usage in real time.

AMI, energy demand, renewable energy and IoT

Projects discussed in the whitepaper, A Smart Energy Future for Rural Areas, aim to use smart metering and other smart grid technologies to help rural communities improve the portfolios of their renewable energy resources.

Through the use of smart technologies, rural communities in the UK have the ability to secure their energy supply by taking advantage of the fact that they generate the majority of renewable energy supplied to grid networks distributing electricity to urban consumers, says Smart Energy GB.

This would, in turn, help rural communities improve their local economy by avoiding reliance on energy generated elsewhere to meet demand.

“I hope this paper helps to encourage further discussion about the possibilities that smart technologies bring to rural areas and enables further innovative projects to emerge.”

The research found an increase in integration of Internet of things technologies and devices with utility services to enable energy providers to offer automated services to their customers.

Automation of utility services also allows rural energy consumers to centrally control the energy consumption of their smart home appliances and devices using their mobile devices even when they are not at home.

This, in turn, would enable energy providers to improve their demand response initiatives to meet peak demand at the same time avoid investing in the construction of new energy generation infrastructure.

Smart Energy GB says rural communities are aware of the benefits of installing networks which support smart energy use alongside smart city applications including smart street lighting, EV charging and smart parking.

A number of factors including inadequate funding have also been identified as the cause of delays in the full adoption of smart grid technologies in rural communities. However, Smart Energy GB recommends utility firms and smart grid programme designers to include local government authorities and large organisations such as housing associations and owners of community assets in their projects in order to achieve the same economies of scale as in urban areas.

By engaging housing associations and local authorities in smart grid projects, Smart Energy GB is confident utilities in rural communities would be able to overcome the challenge of consumer engagement in their programmes.

Some of the projects included in the whitepaper include the New Energy Solutions (NINES) project being deployed in Shetland in Scotland. Under the project, the Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) is partnering with Hjaltland Housing Association to stabilise the island’s energy supply through improved control over renewable generation and demand. The island is one of the windiest locations in the UK yet it faces a challenge to meet energy demand as it is not connected to the mainland AC grid network.


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