Culatra and Armona will have an intelligent electricity grid starting in the summer

Saving energy on the Ria Formosa barrier islands located in Faro and Olhão will be easier now from […]

Saving energy on the Ria Formosa barrier islands located in Faro and Olhão will be easier starting in the summer. The company EDP is preparing to install state-of-the-art meters on the islands of Culatra and Armona, devices that allow real-time monitoring by the consumer and remote control of many elements of the network by the service provider.

The expansion of the smart grid innovgrid for these barrier islands was announced this Monday at the Chamber of Faro and it will reach about 1200 homes. The installation of the so-called EDP Box is free for the consumer and represents an investment for the Portuguese energy company of "150 euros per customer".

In practice, EDP will «replace the old meters with EDP Box», a technologically more advanced terminal that has several features that those found today in the vast majority of Portuguese homes do not have, revealed the president of EDP Distribuição João Torres, in a session that took place this Monday in Faro. They allow, from the outset, real-time readings and consumption control.

“Customers, on the one hand, have access to the consumption information they are having. On the other hand, the bill reflects actual consumption and is not based on estimates, as was the case until now. At the same time, services such as power change and others can be done remotely», he said.

From the consumer's point of view, these meters allow them to have greater control over expenses and, thus, lead to savings in the amount to be paid at the end of each month. EDP ​​also benefits, as travel to the site is substantially reduced, something even more interesting as these are more difficult to access places.

EDP ​​Boxes are also useful when solving network breakdowns. Monitoring, in the current EDP network, «is carried out essentially at the level of medium voltage», which allows us to understand the area where there is a fault, but not always the exact location. "With these boxes, the customer, by telephone, can find out if the damage is only in his house or in his street", said João Torres.

This is an expanding network, which has already had several test initiatives across the country, including a neighborhood in Olhão. Its launch took place in Évora, in 2010, where 30 homes from a universe of just over 32 are already included in this intelligent network.

In the capital of Alto Alentejo, there are already numbers that support Inovgrid's potential in promoting more responsible consumption. In one year, the average consumption among the inhabitants of Évora dropped by about 3,9 percent. In Olhão and Faro, EDP estimates that it will be able to reduce consumption «between 3,9 and 6 percent».

"We believe that the environment created in Évora, concerned with energy saving, can be replicated in the rest of the country", considered the president of EDP Distribuição. Inovgrid will be extended to the whole country progressively, but in stages, to guarantee the stability of the network.

According to EDP, in 2011 «the Inovgrid network was selected by the European Union and Eurelectric as a case study of smart energy grids, among more than 260 projects at European level», which makes it «a reference project» .