When it comes to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, congregation can significantly lower emissions as it combines the generation of power with capturing the heat generated for other uses. While technologies such as natural gas are around 60% energy efficient, the use of congregation can increase this efficiency up to 90%. Congregation is also known as combined power and heat (CHP). It can be used with either fossil fuels or with renewables. In a traditional coal plant, the efficiency is around 38% for the production of power, and the heat is wasted. By combining heat and power production this significantly improves efficiency but is still based on a non-renewable source. In contrast with renewable energy sources will also significantly increase the efficiency but do not deplete our natural resources. For example, in a home solar power can be used for both power generation and heating (MSc Green Economy, 2018).
Smart grids contribute to the reduction of GHG and have been found to reduce emissions by 10 to 180 gCO2/kWh (Moretti et al., 2017). However, regulatory measures such as ensuring proper privacy laws, and policies surrounding the monitoring of these systems, as well as specific cost-saving initiatives are necessary to accelerate the development of smart grids. In order to increase development the provision of tax benefits would help encourage companies to invest in the technology. However, because of the potential privacy risk, it is also equally important to ensure that privacy laws are updated to accommodate this new technology (Clastres, 2011). While I believe that monitoring is important from a research perspective, it is also possible that the data could be used for malicious purposes. Therefore, while there is a significant benefit to monitoring, it is important that the data be secured correctly and that policies be developed for the use of the data for research purposes.
- CLASTRES, C. 2011. Smart grids: Another step towards competition, energy security and climate change objectives. Energy policy [Online], 39. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030142151100396X.
- MORETTI, M., DJOMO, S. N., AZADI, H., MAY, K., DE VOS, K., VAN PASSEL, S. & WITTERS, N. 2017. A systematic review of environmental and economic impacts of smart grids. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews [Online], 68. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032116002744.
- MSC GREEN ECONOMY 2018. Topic 6: Energy efficiency technologies. Green Technology and Renewable Energy.