Amsterdam testing smart grid

Amsterdam is Europe’s first “smart city”. The Dutch city will serve as a testing ground to prove that smart grid technologies can better manage energy use and transmission while also reducing electricity outages and congestion. The Smart City pilot project targets four areas: working, living, mobility and public space.

The pilot with five hundred households in Amsterdam will begin a test in which the residents can check their energy consumption. Nuon Power and the American IT giants IBM and Cisco will Help Amsterdam to become a ‘Smart City’.

The parties expect that consumers will consume less energy if they can see which appliances are wasting energy. This is done through a small device with a touch screen, similar to a digital photo frame.

The screen is wirelessly connected to a digital power meter. Households can set a savings budget so that they are continuously encouraged to monitor their gas and electricity savings.

The test was previously held on a smaller scale in Arnhem. This showed that an average household would save 200 euros per year on its energy bill.

‘Smart’ energy meters may be an important role for energy reduction. Critics argue that they violate the privacy of consumers, because energy companies will be able to monitor the engergy consumption of their customers.

Last week Oxxio introduced the possibility to check the energy consumption on the mobile phone or on the computer. The engergy company has about 180,000 smart meters installed.

According to Nuon, it is now possible to controle the home heating system via the Internet or mobile phone. Households can also switch off devices through a so-called all-in-button.

The Smart City pilot in Amsterdam will last until the end of next year.

Amsterdam’s pilot program is one of a string of announcements from technology companies jumping into the smart grid fray. Google, for instance, has partnered with GE to lobby the government to push for smart grid support, while also teaming with utilities to bring energy monitoring to businesses and residences.

Amsterdam, the largest city in The Netherlands, has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2025. It hopes through the pilot project with Cisco and IBM will help residents reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent or more.

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