In a sign that the Smart Grid is beginning to gain critical traction and momentum in the wider economy Whirlpool, the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances has announced that it plans to have all of its electronically controlled appliances be Smart Grid compatible by 2015. This announcement builds momentum towards the adoption of global standards for Smart Appliances as well as coordinating Home Energy Operating Systems that may find a mediating role between applainces and the wider grid, perhaps providing amongst other services an additional firewall to protect the home from malicious intrusion.
Bracken Darrell, president of Whirlpool Europe, and executive vice president of Whirlpool Corporation, stressed the critical importance of a collaborative effort among industry, government institutions, NGOs, utilities and other stakeholders to drive truly meaningful energy conservation, before announcing the company’s newest commitment.
“By 2015, Whirlpool Corporation will make all the electronically controlled appliances it produces — everywhere in the world — capable of receiving and responding to signals from smart grids,” said Darrell.
Darrell indicated that the company’s ability to successfully deliver on this commitment in this time frame was dependent on two important public-private partnerships:
• The development by the end of 2010 of an open, global standard for transmitting signals to and receiving signals from a home appliance; and
• Appropriate policies that reward consumers, manufacturers and utilities for using and adding these new peak demand reduction capabilities.
“Whirlpool believes this bridging technology is so important that we are going to invite the appliance industry, the utility industry, policymakers, NGOs, and relevant technology companies to come together at the upcoming Copenhagen climate change conference to discuss how we can accelerate the adoption of these new capabilities,” said Darrell.
It will be interesting to see how these open industry wide home appliance – smart grade communication stack standards evolve. This certainly represents a quickening of the pace towards a much more information rich way of consuming energy resources that the Smart Grid is enabling. And this growing push towards adoption of open (one hopes) standards will in turn provide momentum for building out the Smart Grid itself.
© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.