GEN6 - Greek IPv6 Pilot

In this page, selected information from the Smarter 2020 report is provided regarding the predictions for energy efficiency issues in the smart grid and the smart buildings sector.

Based on the report, it is stated that the growth in GHG emissions from the ICT industry — end-user devices, telecommunication networks, and data centers—is expected to decrease in the next decade. While the growth rate from 2002 to 2011 was 6.1 percent per year, the growth rate for 2011 to 2020 is expected to slow to 3.8 percent per year (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: ICT emissions growth expected to decrease from 6.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

The decrease in ICT emissions growth will be due to a significantly reduced rate of growth in emissions by end-user devices. From a growth rate of 6.1 percent per year in GHG emissions between 2002 and 2011, end-user device emissions are expected to decrease to 2.3 percent per year between 2011 and 2020. Since this category accounts for 60 percent of all ICT emissions, a deceleration will have a big impact on the growth rate of total ICT emissions. The primary driver for this decline is the expected efficiency gains and a shift from PCs to laptops and tablets.

Specifically, abatement in the buildings sector is of great importance, because their energy use is a major source of emissions. Therefore, there are several factors that should drive strong uptake of ICT-enabled abatement solutions in this sector. There should be significant incentives for reducing the energy costs of buildings. Commercial buildings offer particularly good opportunity to reduce energy costs because of their size, their long-term occupants, and their typically more sophisticated building managers. Furthermore, their energy costs can be high, increasing the magnitude of financial incentives to make emission reduction upgrades.

Most buildings, including older buildings and new constructions, have not leveraged opportunities to increase their energy efficiency. Energy waste is high due to inefficient heating and cooling, lighting, and other power systems. ICT could be instrumental in the use of abatement technologies that address these energy consumption inefficiencies. The total abatement potential is 1.68 GtCO2e.

The implementation of smart meters by ICT can play an important role in abating GHGs in all countries while providing a positive economic impact; per capita income level is not a sufficient reason to avoid addressing GHG emissions. Though, ICT can provide a positive economic return while abating GHGs in countries across the world. Particularly, Smart meters in the power system can play a significant role in identifying and correcting inefficiencies in the power grid. This will help power companies return to profitability and will reduce electricity waste and emissions. Smart meters placed in offices, telephone exchanges and data centers will help us monitor energy usage levels and identify areas where we can deliver savings.

Smart electricity meters provide energy consumption information to energy suppliers, which then take the information and communicate it to consumers through an Internet portal. Consumers can access this portal through their computers and Smart-phones, making personal energy consumption information readily accessible at all times. Consumers can identify which appliances use the most energy and also avoid energy consumption during periods of peak demand. Not only does this information benefit consumers, but it also is of great value to power generators. With the constant stream of information, power generators can better forecast demand and avoid utilizing unnecessary capacity.

Building management systems control a wide variety of building components, such as power systems; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; and plumbing. They can reduce energy use and emissions by ensuring that resources are conserved by turning lights off when occupants are not in the room, reducing heating and cooling at night, and using Smart sensors to reduce water waste. Building management systems are characterized by hardware connected to computers and software that oversee and maintain the building.

It can be argued that benefits in Smart grid will be occurred by providing consumers and energy providers with more information on consumption patterns, money is saved, less energy is wasted, and fewer GHGs are released. The average household that uses Smart meters has been able to save about 4% on their energy bills. Though dependent on the wider development of Smart grids, ICT-enabled Smart meters can yield significant GHG emissions savings in future.

Though the development of a Smart grid would likely occur in phases over a period of time, using Smart meters to determine efficiency losses would be among the first steps of development and is one of the easiest applications of Smart grid technology. While Smart grid implementation is not the only way of addressing T&D losses, it is the easiest way to simultaneously detect those efficiency losses and discover power theft.