Small modular reactors (SMRs) are thought to have several benefits for the energy system, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati.Because of their ‘modular’ nature they should be cheaper and easier to manufacture and install than larger capacity plants and they could for example be a cost effective option for large power users or in remote areas. The challenge is to get to the point of commercialization and there are a large number of groups working on different designs around the world. Could the UK take a lead? Given the developmental requirements, the UK could have its first SMRs by 2030 – but only if plans are put in place right away and all relevant parties work together towards the goal. [Could UK have small modular reactors by 2030?]
Internet of Things
In an Internet of Things world smart appliances are an essential component, with the opportunity to potentially use them for demand management or grid balancing. What is claimed to be a ‘first’ in the UK with data from smart plug connected appliances transmitted on the grid has taken place with a novel system created by Reactive Technologies. [Grid operator and consumers creating a smarter grid, together] The commercial sector is expected to offer significant potential for use of the technology and will be its first beneficiary.
Smart grid data
The explosion of data and its potential in the energy sector has been attracting the interest of the IT giants and in Microsoft’s case the company is gaining increasing traction with increasingly higher profile deals with its Azure cloud platform. Among the latest of these is a smart grid pilot with Agder Energi to support renewable integration. [Microsoft goes smart grid with Agder Energi] And since that article was published Itron has announced that it is to standardise all its solutions on Azure as ‘Total Outcomes’, offering a growing set of utility and smart city services.
While smart meters are well established in some parts of the world, such as the US, their deployment can still be complex and challenging, both for utilities and their suppliers. Increasingly suppliers are being called upon on to deliver an end to end solution and act as project integrator, Honeywell’s Stijn Goerlant told Engerati in an interview. [Smart metering – preparing for end-to-end rollout] Ferry Cserép, CEO of Netinium advocates the use of a single head end to eliminate the complexities of meters from different vendors. [Meeting the smart meter head end challenge]