What makes energy smart?

Energy-efficient technological advances will benefit everyone

By Claire Marchand

Energy in itself is not smart. What makes it smart then? The numerous technological advances that allow companies and household to use energy more efficiently.

home battery and solar panels Home batteries may well change the way we consume energy in the not so distant future

Storing and monitoring

The means to store surplus energy are still fairly limited nowadays but the development of industrial and domestic storage systems may soon change the way we generate, distribute and consume energy. 

Storing surplus energy – especially from solar and wind power – in industrial-size batteries and releasing electricity whenever weather conditions keep generation at its lowest, will increase efficiency and at the same time may reduce green-house gas emissions by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. 

On the domestic front, for those who have solar panels on their roof or possess an electric car, home batteries may provide a handy solution for the storage of excess electricity. This will reduce their electricity bill: they can use this backup power on sunless days or even sell it to their local utility.

LVDC to play major role

The use of low-voltage direct current (LVDC) is bound to play a major role, both in making energy smarter for cities, and in speeding up electrification and enabling electricity access for all throughout the world: almost everything, from electric vehicles, renewable energy technology, island irrigation systems, kitchen appliances, lighting and transport, smartphones and tablets, to systems with data and embedded electronics, such as the IoT, smart homes and smart cities, runs on LVDC. 

Energy storage, LVDC, the intelligent use of renewable energy sources, new technological advances will help citizens, cities and countries, local and regional entities optimize energy use and meet the challenges of environmental sustainability, population growth,  urbanization and electricity access for all. 

home battery and solar panels Home batteries may well change the way we consume energy in the not so distant future
solar-powered microgrid in India A solar-powered microgrid is supplying electricity to the village of Bishunpur Tolla, Dharnai in India (Photo: Vivek M/Greenpeace)
Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech