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Fridges unite to save the planet

As world leaders gather in Copenhagen to agree new global targets for CO2 emissions, here in Britain the humble fridge freezer is ready to step up and play its part in saving the planet by reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions by 2 million tonnes per year and saving £220 million in grid balancing costs.

Three of Europe’s most innovative companies, white goods manufacturer Indesit Company, energy supplier npower and RLtec, the smart grid technology company, are ready to begin a UK trial of fridges fitted with grid-balancing technology.

The dynamic demand technology, developed by RLtec and Indesit research teams, helps to maintain the balance between supply and demand across the national electricity grid. From this month and through 2010, up to 3,000 UK npower customers will be supplied with Indesit Company dynamic demand fridges and fridge freezers, free of charge, in what will be world’s first residential test of the technology.

Commenting on the technology, Lord Hunt, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said: “Dynamic demand is an exciting technology with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the grid’s capacity to absorb wind energy – key elements of the government’s energy strategy for renewables.

“I welcome the demonstration project led by npower, Indesit Company and RLtec. The trial will help us gain a better understanding of how dynamic demand can work to reduce our use of fossil fuels. If successful it could help pave the way for the uptake of this technology nation-wide, which could result in significant carbon savings of around 2 million tonnes CO2 a year or higher.”
Dynamic demand is approved as a Demonstration Action by Ofgem under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) legislation and this initiative will contribute towards npower’s carbon reduction obligations.

Indesit, one of the largest appliance manufacturers in Europe, is the design and production partner for the project. Each fridge will be monitored in real time by a data collection system, which will feed back to researchers all the information needed to assess the potential carbon emission reduction which the system could provide in an everyday environment. Following the initial roll-out of 300, a total of up to 3,000 Indesit fridges and freezers of different types and models will be deployed so that the carbon savings from dynamic demand can be assessed and calculated against a full range of different products.

Andrew Howe, CEO of RLtec, explains, “Appliances fitted with our dynamic demand technology automatically modify their power consumption in response to second-by-second changes in the balance between supply and demand on the grid. This means that the amount of carbon-emitting generating capacity used to maintain that balance can be dramatically reduced. What’s more, it’s effectively a silent solution as it doesn’t affect appliance performance in any way and no action is needed on the part of the consumer.”

“We are really pleased to have Indesit as the manufacturing and design partner and are delighted that npower have chosen to use dynamic demand to meet its CERT obligations,” added Howe.
Bob Jackson, Acting Head of Energy Efficiency at npower, said: "Dynamic demand has the potential to reduce the amount of carbon emissions significantly – so these trials with domestic customers are very important and we hope they will show the impact that this technology could have in the UK and around the world."

Adriano Mencarini, Indesit Company Innovation & Digital Design Director: “We are delighted to be involved in this project and to play a pioneering role in the world of smart grids. The efforts of our highly specialised research team, working in partnership with RLtec in the UK and Italy has allowed us to develop a very new approach to energy saving. We have a long history of innovation and our strong environmental credentials have won numerous awards over the years. It is therefore extremely important to us as a business to be involved in a project which will potentially have a positive impact on energy consumption and the environment and I very much look forward to seeing the first results early next year.”

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