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GE's Campbell Speaks on Smart Appliances
Jul 23, 2009
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James Campbell, head of the GE division that makes appliances, provided more details about the GE initiative to develop smart appliances that are Smart Grid-enabled or have demand response capabilities. Such appliances will interact with the Smart Grid and will have the ability to temporarily reduce power or delay some normal operations. Interference with activity in the home will be minimized because consumers can override appliance actions.

Examples of how demand response appliances may operate:

A refrigerator will delay the defrost cycle, which uses more energy than normal operation, until the energy load is lower.

A dryer may reduce the wattage used by its heating coils.

A dishwasher may delay its start until a time of day when energy usage is lower.

At a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Campbell discussed provisions of the American Clean Energy and Security Act that will continue the progress in the development of the Smart Grid, in particular the role of appliances.

Residential housing accounts for 37% of U.S. electricity production, and 82% of that energy is consumed by appliances, lighting, and HVAC equipment in the home. This makes it critical for appliances to be integrated into the Smart Grid. GE points to a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report that says residential demand response programs can affect the largest potential reduction in U.S. peak demand. It says the avoided demand is equivalent to the generation capacity of 108 coal plants over a ten-year period.

“I’ve been in the appliance business for nearly 30 years. I’ve seen many innovations and changes in the industry. Some have been nothing short of revolutionary,” related Campbell. “I think Smart Grid-enabled appliances will usher in another revolution, a revolution in which these appliances will enable us to use energy more wisely and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And, in the process, GE and other manufacturers will lead the way to a new era of U.S. technology leadership and create thousands of jobs that go with it.”

The American Clean Energy and Security Act as passed by the House will provide assistance through the Best in Class Appliances Deployment Program. Program incentives are intended to spur manufacturers to produce the new demand response appliances.

“With incentives, we will have the opportunity to accelerate development and get new products to market faster, creating “green” American jobs,” said Campbell. “Also, by incentivizing smart appliances now, manufacturers can add demand response capability to a significant portion of their appliances in the future … preparing American households to realize the full benefits of the Smart Grid when it’s fully deployed. This approach is the only way to rapidly transform the market so that it will be ready as the Smart Grid is built.”

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