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The UK government announced this week that it will roll out smart meters by 2020 and is currently going through a consultancy that will last until July. The introduction of the new high-tech metering system will bring an end to estimated energy bills and will make the growth of micro-generation much easier as it will allow monitoring of energy being consumed and fed-in to the grid.

For supporters of the proposed feed-in tariff, set to be introduced next year, this will also be an encouraging indication that the government is putting in place the infrastructure capable of dealing with the complexities of energy feed-in tariff monitoring. The Department of Energy and Climate Change declared the announcement as a ‘key-step’ in the move towards an intelligent grid system which will be of benefit to energy producers, micro-generators and consumers alike.

Micro-generation of energy across the UK will be kick started by the introduction of feed-in tariffs in 2010 as they will provide a fixed contract, guaranteeing a premium rate for small scale renewable producers feeding energy in to the national grid. The new smart meters and the technology involved will enable the monitoring of energy consumption and of course the energy fed in to the grid in order to make tariff payments accurate. Because of the increased potential for analysis of energy usage, smart meters will see the end of estimated bills and blanket tariffs which offer no rewards to consumers with energy conservation and climate change in mind.

Ed Milliband, Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced,

“The meters most of us have in our homes were designed for a different age, before climate change. Now we need to get smarter with our energy. Smart meters will empower all consumers to monitor their own energy use and make reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions as a result.

They will also mean the end of inaccurate bills and estimated meter readings. This is a big project affecting 26 million homes, and several million businesses, so it’s important we design a system that brings best value to everyone involved.”

The smart meter roll out, thought to be a step towards a fully integrated smart grid will be a huge tool in the introduction of the tariff system next year. The take up of renewable energy micro-generation in homes and business along with a cultural move towards carbon emission reduction will indeed herald smart meter technology as an important means for the government to meet its climate change targets in the next ten years.

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