Accelerating the EU’s clean energy transition

With modest enhancements, next generation smart meters can become the cornerstone of the energy transition.

Delivering the massive reduction in carbon emissions to halt climate change is a vast challenge. We need to decarbonise generation, electrify heat and transport and improve efficiency.  That belies vast complexity though. To manage and balance a grid of unparalleled intricacy, we need intelligence at the grid edge.

Next generation smart meters must play that vital role.

Modest upgrades to the next generation of smart meters will allow them to run sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. By deploying AI to the grid edge, homes can become more efficient and flexible, and we can cost effectively accelerate the energy transition.

The current situation: epically expensive, labour intensive, not very effective

Today’s grid cannot cope with a huge increase in demand from electric cars and heat pumps. Upgrading all that copper will tank already feeble business cases and balancing a grid based on renewables will be extremely expensive. Storage won’t come to the rescue in any helpful timeframe. Wholesale power costs will continue to rise and price spikes will punch through retail margins. The appalling situation in the Ukraine is a harsh reminder of how frail our energy security is. 

Demand Side Flexibility (DSF) has a role but today it operates for industry alone. That finite load won’t be enough to balance fluctuations elsewhere. To corral enough demand, DSF must extend to the home but existing options are expensive. In the EU, we don’t have €800bn to install 200m home batteries. Even if we did, we don’t have the skilled workforce to deliver such a magnificent project. EV chargers are important but they too often sit behind walled gardens and can’t contribute to peak hour flexibility if they only run at night. 

Developing distributed and connected energy resources in the home are vital parts of the solution, but as presently construed, current efforts will fail to halt 1.5 degrees of warming, and probably 2.0 as well. We will fail because the solutions are expensive, difficult to install, and they neglect the consumer – they forgo the demand in a demand supply equation!

The Way Ahead: software + smart meter

To overcome these limitations, a practical solution must have several features:

  • It needs to be highly scalable and dramatically more cost effective than previous offerings.
  • It needs to balance the grid, shave and shift the peaks.
  • It needs to engage the consumer. 

Recent advances in artificial intelligence are creating new options. We can avoid the expense and intricacies of the current plan. 

Sense has developed just such a solution. A solution that needs no additional kit in the home. It simply needs an enhanced smart meter and some sophisticated software. We provide intelligence in the home that seamlessly connects with the grid. Intelligence that engages consumers, optimises for cost and carbon, and reduces the capital and operating costs of the grid. In sum, an intelligence that accelerates the energy transition. 

Sense does not make smart meters. Instead we develop AI that runs on next generation smart meters. Sense machine learning algorithms analyse high resolution electricity data and identify patterns in the electrical signal, with remarkable accuracy, specificity and immediacy. That enables Sense to break down domestic electricity consumption to appliance level in real time. It also means Sense can spot anomalies in the electrical signal, identifying faults within and outside the home – in domestic appliances, in wiring, or on the wider grid. 

When deployed across a smart meter rollout, Sense AI starts to resolve the intractable issues facing an energy system in transition. The real time device detection helps consumers save energy and enables demand side flexibility. It aggregates the vast reserves of residential demand so it can be tapped by ancillary services and wholesale markets. Short- and long-term demand forecasting becomes more accurate with appliance level mapping, saving infrastructure investment and power costs. Anomalies on the grid, such as faulty transformers, vegetation brush, and power outages can be identified and located.

Accelerating the EU’s clean energy transition

Sense-ready smart meters can transform the energy landscape. They can be the cornerstone of the flexible grid and become the intelligence that coordinates the home. Whilst first-generation meters have represented a huge stride forward, they have not fulfilled their potential. Early meters have been forced to sacrifice too much capability for cost and have been held back by rules on data sharing. Saving a few euros on a smart meter is costing network operators many thousands elsewhere over the meter’s installed life. By considering the full cost of reducing emissions, we can modestly enhance meter technology, and deliver the energy transition at a fraction of the cost. 

In North America, nearly 2m Sense ready meters have already been announced. With a cost-effective software solution, Sense can help deliver the energy transition across Europe too. 

About Sense

Customers rely on Sense for a wide range of uses including monitoring their home appliances, determining whether they left appliances running and identifying how to reduce their energy costs  For an energy supplier or grid operator, Sense’s artificial intelligence helps engage customers, enables flexibility at the grid edge, identifies anomalies on the network, and reduces operating and power costs.

Sense runs from a single monitor attached to the consumer panel or as software provided on next generation smart meters.

Want to know more? Learn more

Upcoming Events

Talk to the Sense Team

To meet the team at an event in your region or to explore how Sense can help you and your customers, please get in touch.
Talk to Sense