Energy efficient

GE eyes Chilean market for smart grid technology

The regional powerhouse is poised to become the first country to implement the technology in Latin America.  

Friday, March 02, 2012 Category: Business - Technology
Solar panels can feed into the public grid with smart grid technology. (Photo by K.Copic/Flickr) Solar panels can feed into the public grid with smart grid technology. (Photo by K.Copic/Flickr)

People around the world are saying that “smart grid” technology is the future of energy, and a major step towards greater electrical efficiency.


The technology allows more efficient use of energy by assigning two-way communication between the electric grid and appliances, taking advantage of each kilowatt of energy consumed in an intelligent manner.  


Now, General Electric (GE) is looking to bring that smart grid technology to Latin America - starting in Chile.


“Thanks to the economic stability and the progress towards development, our country is in a privileged position to implement technologies like smart grid,” said Ramiro Virreira, sales director of digital energy for GE in Chile, Peru and Bolivia.


“[Chile] has a very developed telecommunications industry and an electricity distribution sector that has already adopted a focus on technology.”


Thanks to the innovative two-way abilities of the electrical system, smart grid technology also facilitates connecting private energy sources to the public grid, including renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.


According to Virreira, “one of the main challenges for implementing smart grids is to teach consumers about the importance of modernizing our current systems.”


In the case of a private residence, unused energy generated by solar panels on the roof, for example, can be sold back to the grid - turning the monthly electricity bill into a boon.


Virreira also pointed to a reduced incidence of widespread blackouts in other countries that have implemented smart grids, and the power to avoid costly new investments in electrical infrastructure and increased taxes.


“We need to encourage initiatives at the government level that support distributors with incentives to increase efficiency and integrate more renewable energy into the grid. These two concepts are key to making smart grids a reality.”

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