Enabling a smarter, cleaner world

I read an article a few days ago which claimed air pollution meant that everyone in Britain was effectively smoking one cigarette a day, and that increased to many more in the most polluted cities. It left me quite shocked and even more so when I saw that Public Health England had estimated that air pollution contributes to around 28,000 deaths per year.

Progress is being made to cleaning our air. Recently, the UK has rightly celebrated its longest stretch without using coal-fired power stations since the industrial revolution, which at the time of writing was 18 days straight. This achievement isn’t solely due to smart meters, of course; but the Government does anticipate that the roll-out will save nearly 30 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.

Smart meters give consumers the power to switch to greener tariffs, but also give the grid the intelligence to make renewables more impactful. Our work to digitise the energy system will enable the country to move to a lower carbon economy and will contribute to phasing out coal completely. By World Environment Day next year, we’ll be even closer to that goal.

Smart DCC’s primary focus is connecting every home and small business in Britain to this network so we can all lead smarter, greener lives; but we are also looking to the future development of our technology. Our secure network has more than 1 million connected meters and counting. It will soon outstrip the reach of superfast broadband, digital TV and mobile phones. And the network’s potential use to accelerate the electric vehicle market excites me hugely. 

There are lots of stats that show the intensive use of cars across Britain, but one stood out to me. It was reported earlier this year that in Manchester alone an estimated 250 million car journeys were made of less than 1km. Along with better public transport and cycle links, electric vehicles will certainly be part of the solution, and the grid needs to be ready for this revolution.

A connected smart charging network could really make a huge impact, allowing customers to plan their energy spend and ultimately lower their carbon footprint by charging when energy is at its greenest. The DCC’s network and smart meter technology could potentially allow electric vehicles’ batteries to power homes and balance demand during peak times.

The future greening potential of our network is certainly promising, but our current drive to connect every home in Britain is more important than ever – it will accelerate decarbonisation and help ensure our children have clean air to breathe.