Hundreds of households have increased their use of local renewable energy by 20% thanks to a smart energy ‘hub’ that matches demand to availability.
Launched last November in three communities in Portugal, Italy and Scotland, the ORIGIN system - designed by a consortium of researchers led by Heriot-Watt University - has already had a positive impact in just six weeks.
Householders in the three villages where the system has been installed, can download renewable energy forecasts that tell them when locally-produced wind power is available. Their energy-use behaviour has already changed significantly.
Having analysed the data from the first six weeks of ORIGIN and comparing this to data for the previous two years, researchers have seen a 20% increase in use of locally generated wind power at the Scottish trial site at Findhorn.
Now researchers are developing the system further, so that it can provide personalised forecasts for individual households showing residents the best times to schedule their energy and hot water use.
Dr Edward Owens of the Energy Academy at Heriot-Watt University said, “This technology will help achieve progress towards meeting EU targets for reducing emissions by increasing use of renewable energy and will spread energy consumption out to avoid the peaks that put power grids under stress and can lead to black-outs.
“It has the potential to save households money and alleviate fuel poverty. Using our system we can now match supply with demand, allowing communities to reap the rewards of renewable energy, especially where they own the power source.”