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Future Smart Energy Systems

Coming back home 2020:

“I am approaching to my house. It has been another long working day. I am parking the car in my box. The car shrinks to half the size and moves in his place. It connects to the plugs easily and it starts to recharge energy and hydrogen.

I look to my door, speak the words and enter. My children say that a message is waiting for me. So took a while for that. My virtual building trainer has some info for me: today solar energy has been stored extensively. About 45 kWh of solar source. In part this source is feeding my car with hydrogen and electricity. Tomorrow I’ll be able to run for full distance: maximum 650 km. The system recommends me several options to optimise my rides tomorrow considering several elements: the appointments I have in the agenda, forecasted data about traffic and weather conditions and the energy that will be available tomorrow.  It looks like I have some space capacity and enough energy if I follow the approach proposed. I could plan an additional travel to some of my customers not visited along last weeks. The indoor climate system, informed of my arrival by the smartphone, is adapting to my presence and reducing the thermal load by about 100 W. The climate is perfect: 20°C at 50% relative humidity. The trainer informs me that 24% of stored energy will be utilized for such climate control during the next 4 hours.  I should inform the system that I would need extra time for unexpected work during the night. Ok, no matter about that. The building will lose about 0,5°C per hour. I can survive with that! It is more important to have the hydrogen tank with full charge for tomorrow and car battery as well.

Tomorrow will be a cloudy day: less energy from the sun. Which could be the better option? Biomass? Gas? Or can I recycle part of the plastic bottles for tomorrow? I could have about 32 kWh of backup, about 82% of what I need … I’m informed. Ok, I’ll go through that. And the day after, I’ll leave my car in the box and I’ll go to the park with children. Then a shower, few hours at home, and program the dishwasher machine for start up on the more convenient tariff of the day. The trainer needs a plan. Me too! Ah! I should remember to transfer some energy to Carl. He has had some difficulties over last days and no way to realize some components useful for his last project at home. During last week his solar system is under revision and he needs extra input for the product designer machine. Tomorrow I’ll give input for starting up my home devices only in proposed periods, so my utility will give that option to me for free. Good for Carl this way!

But let’s have a look on what happened today. Energy tariffs have been good at noon; I could have received some bonus credit from the local utility. I had promised to use some of these for the local school where Emily is ... Mmh, something went wrong… my daughter Emily today has left the bathroom windows open for 2 hrs before the system detected it and automatically closed it… and I won’t have for tomorrow full car charge. My wife Candy has used several time the dishwasher and not in the reserved slots. Why that? Will ask later … no more time for numbers. It’s time to relax and enjoy some time with my family but I need to remember to update the policies or to download some new system policies from the shared community repository.” (Courtesy of Luigi Crema - FBK)


Paradigm change towards distributed/renewable energy generation: coming back home in the scenario 2020 will need some real paradigm change in how energy will be generated, distributed and utilized. The "prosumer" described in the story is a new real driver on implementing distributed energy systems. This challenge can be supported by distributed energy technologies, new business models, full social acceptance, strong political drive. The scenario will evolve mainly in a bottom – up approach on the technological and economic side, while it must be supported by top – down support policies and political decisions. The real treads lay down on a strong opposition of corporations to the paradigm change and obstacles that may create problems in introducing new models and opportunities in market technologies.


New social - business engagement: in relationship with the paradigm change towards a distributed energy system, new energy technologies will be required for buildings, communities, cities. The new technologies can only enter in the society upon a social acceptance and the development of new business models, where individuals can play a different role. Individuals are intended not only single citizens, but in an extended way each organization working at the local level and managing energy systems. An example of that can be a ESCO (Energy Service Company) or a community. New business models will consider new operators within an unbundled energy market, acting as energy manager, energy traders, solution providers. End users can be thus supported through a service key on the hand. A more pervasive and supporting information system will be a strategic element of connection between new operators and end users. The building could be so a personal trainer for dweller, the community will be a partecipated energy society, the Region will be a key node of the overall energy grid, where to implement detailed and specific energy policies and programs.



A number of Smart Energy Systems technologies are expected to have high impact in the coming years, especially in terms of business potential, including for instance: i) Big Data analytics, regarding the application of Big Data approaches and technologies to energy-related data, for instance smart metering data owned by utilities; ii) The “Energy Box”, that is a device potentially installed in every residential household that provides the intelligence, possibly remotely through cloud-based services, for an efficient energy management of smart domestic appliances, A/C, heating and ventilation systems, etc.; iii) Wireless Power Transmission (WPT), especially in the context of EV (Electric Vehicles) charging, enabling EVs to display their full potential in terms of energy storage and load balancing for smart grids.


Will ICT contribute significantly to energy efficiency and independence in the near future?
How about the (increasing) energy consumption by ICT itself?
What will be the user acceptance of the proposed future?
Will security/privacy issues be solved by 2020?
Quality of life will improve or worsen (e.g. stress) in a highly interconnected world?



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