4E RESEARCHES NEW PROJECTS
In October 2011 the 4E ExCo initiated two new research projects into the important areas of Standards Policy Development and Smart Metering. These projects are conceived as preliminary explorations into the topic areas that may lead to the development of new Annexes or other avenues for pursuing more in-depth consideration.
The results of each project will be presented to the ExCo in Sweden in May 2012.
SMART METERING INFRASTRUCTURE
The main task will be performing a scoping study that explores the two main topics: Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring (NIALM) and Smart Metering Consumption (SMC).
Lead Countries: Austria and Switzerland
Smart Metering Consumption
More and more countries worldwide are on their way to implement smart grids. Connecting a household, factory, production plant or other end-user to a smart grid requires suitable hardware - a smart meter - and possibly additional devices which have to be supplied with power. No comprehensive comparison on a technical basis regarding the energy consumption of smart metering infrastructure has been done so far neither on the existing smart metering solutions for defined implementation and use scenarios, as well as for relevant configurations of interest to power utilities. Energy consumption due to changes in the metering infrastructure might be different according to the diverse technologies of smart meters and the additional necessary components of the energy network.
NIALM: User-driven energy efficiency in systems (e.g. homes, offices and plants)
Most end-users have little or no idea regarding their own energy consumption and have limited instruments to assess and optimise it. Studies show that the immediate and detailed visualisation of energy consumption figures offers an average potential of 5% to 15% energy savings in today's homes and offices. Non-Intrusive Appliance Loan Monitoring (NIALM) is the enabling technology used to disaggregate energy consumption into single appliances with minor to no alterations of the infrastructure, and to support feedback to the end customers by means of displaying real time data.
NIALM uses detailed energy consumption data from the main electricity meter or from decentralised sub-meters (active energy, reactive energy, harmonics of current) and compares it to preconfigured NIALM device footprints from a database to identify running appliances and to break down the total energy consumption to single appliances. It also offers the potential to identify outdated appliances such as incandescent light bulbs or appliances such as scaled water heaters performing below specification, and suggest service or replacement.
As seen from the examples above, there are various trade-offs between the energy consumption resulting from the deployment of new smart metering infrastructure and the potential gains at the consumer side, by enabling monitoring and feedback on their energy consumption. This scoping study brings these perspectives together and discusses concepts for IEA-4E to further work in this area.
UPDATE - MAY 2012
The Scoping Study report can now be viewed here.
TECHNOLOGY FORCING STANDARDS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
This project will provide members of the 4E Executive Committee (ExCo) with a briefing on the potential for technology forcing standards to stimulate energy efficiency in appliances and equipment at a greater pace than is being achieved by most current national policy approaches. On the basis of this project, the 4E ExCo will decide whether to proceed with further work in this area, potentially including the establishment of a new Annex on this topic.
Lead Country: Canada
Contractor: Kevin Lane (Oxford) Ltd, United Kingdom
With respect to energy efficiency, the traditional approach to the transformation of markets for energy-using products typically involves the use of minimum energy performance standards to eliminate the worst performing products and a combination of comparative information and endorsement labelling to encourage consumers to purchase more efficient products. Often the latter are also deployed to support financial incentive programs. Technology commercialisation programs frequently accompany these to ensure the continuous introduction of new, more efficient products to the market.
This process can take a decade or more during which time less than optimally efficient equipment, most of which have long product lifetimes, is installed in the stock resulting in lost savings and foregone opportunities. Not only are inefficient technologies embedded in the stock but some have argued that innovations are not pursued with appropriate vigour because of the long lead times and investment horizons necessary to gain sufficient market share to offset technology development costs.
An alternative approach to market transformation could be focused more deliberately on approaches that accelerate the introduction of the most efficient technology. Most often this has involved support for basic research, product developement and improvement, commercialisation, market promotion, etc.
At present there may be discernable technology performance targets that could be realised in a way that eliminates a number of these steps and accelerates the process. In some cases, using targets that are broader than traditional product category boundaries could also encourage shifts to new ways of meeting demands for energy services.
To achieve these targets clear signals need to be given to markets that allow appropriate investment to take place more quickly. Mandatory standards that call up these performance standards may be a way to accomplish this.
UPDATE - AUGUST 2012
The final report on the 4E Research Overview of Technology-Forcing Standards for Energy Efficiency is now available for viewing, click here.