BRUSSELS, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Smart electrical grids that synchronize supply and demand will be a crucial weapon in the fight against global climate change, U.S. power industry experts say.
With global energy consumption expected to rise dramatically over the next 15 years, the European Union is among those moving to the new technology designed to use electricity more efficiently, EUobserver reported Friday.
Smart grids use a system of devices to allow customers and utility companies to synchronize electrical power supply and demand.
"Smart grids are a lot about empowering us to engage with energy," says Scott Lang, whose California-based company is developing technology that allows customers to view their electricity usage at any given point, including from individual appliances.
This allows households to cut electricity costs by using energy-consuming devices at low-rate times of day and enables utility companies to cut peak-time demand and avoid costly blackouts.
Governments around the world appear to be jumping on board.
Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom are EU member states where smart grid projects are already under way.
"Smart grid technologies are needed to allow for a cost-effective evolution towards a decarbonized power system," European Commission proposals published Wednesday as part of the EU's 2020 energy plan said.