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A Smart Energy Future for Rural Areas

New paper from Smart Energy GB examines how smart technology is energising rural community energy projects across Great Britain

Smart technology is helping rural communities harness renewable energy and benefit from energy that is cheaper, more efficient and more secure, according to a new report from Smart Energy GB and Arad Research. A smart energy future for rural areas explores some of the most successful examples of community energy projects in rural areas across Britain, looking at the future opportunities to build upon these as Britain’s smart meter rollout continues.

Smart meters, which are being offered to every home in Great Britain by energy suppliers, take automatic meter readings and provide a rich source of data on times and levels of energy use.

The report explores examples of projects using smart energy, data, and technology to manage the supply and demand of electricity. These include Cyd-ynni: Ynni Lleol in Bethesda, a project that uses power from local hydro-electric generation combined with smart meter data to provide local residents with cheaper electricity from a renewable source. Savings of between 10 and 30 percent on energy bills are forecast for the 90 households taking part in the project.

The paper shows the potential for smart meters to play an essential role in increasing the efficiency and security of local energy supplies.

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB, said:

“In some rural and remote communities, the impact of smart technology has been transformational in maintaining a delicate balance between energy supply and demand. In others, smart technology is playing a key role in potentially altering the balance between renewable and fossil fuel generation.

“In addition to these benefits, the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the rural community energy projects explored in our paper is a strong indication that smart meters, alongside other smart technology, will be an essential tool in securing a stable energy system for the future.”

Hefin Thomas, Director at Arad Research said:

“This research shows how rural communities are using smart technology to overcome challenges they face in harnessing renewable energy assets for the benefit of local people. The findings show that smart technology is a key part of innovative approaches to help rural communities benefit from local renewable generation, increasing efficiency and stability while also helping reduce costs.

A smart energy future for rural areas is the latest in a series of reports exploring the transformative potential role of smart meter data in diverse areas of our lives.

A Smart Energy Future for Rural Areas can be downloaded here.