Where electricity is concerned, consumers are playing an increasingly active role – so much so that we now talk about prosumers.
Consumer and producer
In 2013, there were almost 350,000 domestic solar generation units in Belgium.
This means that over 7% of Belgian households are not just consuming electricity, they are also producing it!
This is another factor to take into account when balancing the grid.
A glimpse of the future
The role of prosumers could cover a whole lot more than just consuming and producing. Thanks to the emergence of connected devices like smart meters, consumers could potentially be encouraged to adjust their consumption based on the amount of electricity available on the grid. For instance, on a very sunny day, you might get a notification on your smartphone suggesting that you switch on your washing machine or dishwasher now because it will cost less.
But that is just the beginning! Some people think that electric vehicles may serve as an electricity storage system in future. A car parked in a special parking space could supply electricity if there is not enough, or store electricity in its batteries if there is too much.
All of these developments are part of the smart grid – a smart electricity grid that would use information and communication technologies to gather information and take action in response.
Is that not fascinating?