The role of Smart Meters in WePower’s quest to make the world greener
From the very beginning WePower’s vision has been focused on building a green energy trading solution that would accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy sources, through the power of digital technologies and communities across the globe. WePower is starting with a set of functionalities that will allow anyone to invest into new green energy developments. However, there is a much broader scope of services that WePower’s technology will enable as it scales.
My name is Heikki Kolk. I am the Chief Engineer at Catapult Labs as well as WePower’s advisor on Smart Grid and Energy IOT topics. In this article I would like to share with you a short overview on what smart metering systems are and how they will help WePower bring energy services to the digital world.
What Smart meters are and why we need them?
Smart electricity meters are electronic devices that record consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less, and communicate that information, at least daily, back to your utility. This relatively simple technology shifts the way your energy consumption is measured quite drastically. Instead of you reporting your energy usage every month to your utility company, and then getting billed based on an estimated energy cost, with smart meters your utility can calculate your real energy use on daily basis and bill you based on the energy price for every given day or even hour.
There are a few other important benefits that a functioning smart metering system can provide:
- smart meters can help you connect the energy you purchase to its source, which creates an opportunity for a set of new services that will allow you to purchase energy from the source of your preference;
- smart meters provide a better understanding of how each of us uses energy and helps us find ways to optimize our usage habits, doing this can save money on your energy bills;
- with smart meters your utilities can better understand how the energy is produced and consumed at your city, state or country level. This helps them manage the system better and thus lower energy costs as well as identify system malfunctions much faster and fix them before the system fails.
Smart meters are currently more commonly found in industrial facilities, such as plants, data centers, warehouses and factories. However, many countries across the globe are working on a nationwide smart meter system roll out to cover the entire country. For example, the European Commission has set a target for member states utilities to reach 80% smart meter deployment for all customers by 2020 and to develop a business case to support the further adoption of smart technologies.
Why smart meters are important to WePower?
The basic smart meter functionality at the energy production sites will primarily be needed for a transparent energy production accounting and smart contracts. Smart meters will provide WePower the ability to transparently record the fact that you purchased green energy at a given time for a specific value, and create functional power purchase agreements in form of smart contracts, which you will be able to hold for a future date or sell them back into the marketplace. This is something that does not exist today in energy.
However, with the growth of country-wide smart meter adoption, WePower will start introducing a full range of virtual utility services. Data from the smart meters will allow WePower to build data management and analytics tools that will help your utility providers manage the energy infrastructure much more efficiently. WePower will also be very well positioned to build a developer toolkit so that new services could be built on top of it with the same ease as mobile apps are today.
What WePower proposes for the green energy marketplace is a powerful new tool that can give a whole new dimension to how people and organizations interact, invest, and trade with green power. Transition to green energy is needed more than ever. I am certain that with WePower we will get to the green world much faster.