Another Potentially Price-Responsive Appliance: the Dynamic Fridge

Lynne Kiesling

We have another step toward the smart grid, the transactive electric power network prototyped in the GridWise Olympic Peninsula project: from the UK, pilot testing of 3,000 dynamic, intelligent refrigerators!

The trial, run by energy company npower, will be the first trial of new technology to be approved under the government’s carbon emissions reduction target. …

Paul Lazarevic, a director at RLtec, which will supply the dyanmic demand technology, said: “The national grid is balanced at 50Hz and there are power stations on standby to kick in if it goes below that level, for example when everyone goes to boil a kettle for tea at half time of football match on television.”

He added: “An algorithm device sits in the fridge and monitors grid frequency and if the grid frequency goes up or down it adjusts energy use within safe parameters.

“The beauty of it is that you don’t know it’s happening and there’s no safety risk with your fridge defrosting.”

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that dynamic intelligent devices like these refrigerators can enable consumers to mitigate the likely future increases in electricity costs, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2 million metric tons annually.

This is all very heartening news, and bodes well for future transactive devices that we can program to participate autonomously in dynamic retail electricity markets, increasing our energy efficiency in the process. However, the article mentions only that the dynamic fridges will respond autonomously to frequency fluctuations. There is no mention of making the fridge transactive by using that same digital intelligence functionality to enable the fridge to respond to fluctuations in prices. This functionality is the transactive test by which I evaluate all intelligent end-use devices.

Will the UK’s dynamic fridges be able to pass my transactive test?

One thought on “Another Potentially Price-Responsive Appliance: the Dynamic Fridge

  1. I suspect not. I blogged about this a few weeks ago and it seemed fairly clear from the research I did that the devices only responded to the quality of the inputs they detect. Indeed, the manufacturers were proud of the fact that their devices did not require a smart grid in order to work, and could therefore be deployed fairly cheaply.

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