Mike was bringing me up to speed on what has been going on with Semitech in the last five months. Semitech make semiconductor chips specially designed for power line communications (PLC). Power line communications is essentially the use of electrical cables to transmit data.
Power line communications is receiving a lot of interest these days because of the current buzz (bad pun, sorry) around Smart Grids. Every smart meter is, by definition, connected to an electricity distribution network – if this network can be used to send and receive information, it saves having to roll out a separate infrastructure for your smart grid communications.
Why would Carbon Trust do that? After all, what does mobile network optimisation have to do with energy management? According to the newenergyworldnetwork story:
Rachael Nutter of CT Investment Partners said, ‘Energy consumption in mobile phone base stations is a significant proportion of the opex of mobile operators, as high as 50 per cent in the most extreme cases.
That’s the thing about sustainability – it doesn’t need to be seen as a cost center… rather it can, and should be, part of optimisation activities. Lower carbon, lower energy, cheaper mobile roll-outs. What’s not to like?
If you’ve been following GreenMonk for a while you should know we’re wedded to bottom up sustainability approaches – “from the roots up” as we call it, which is one reason we’ve sponsored, and contributed to the awesome UK HomeCamp community, founded by Chris Dalby, who now works at UK smartmeter firm Current Cost. Seems things are moving along there too.
One of the key players attempting to drive home automation as an activity for “civilians” is ZigBee. It just started working with GreenPeak, which specialises in ultra low power mobile silicon chips, designed to be used in battery-free devices. [See a theme emerging? ] No batteries isn’t just a lower carbon play though- it also means less heavy metals and toxic chemicals. What’s the news? GreenPeak is now Zigbee compliant.
Ironically enough, when I searched for a creativecommons attribution only shot of a smartmeter i found one from my colleague Michael Coté in Austin. His utility called it a smartmeter, but unless he has access to the data generated I don’t see how it deserves the name. But that’s a subject for a different blog, and indeed a line of Greenmonk research.
The really keen eyed among you may have noticed how many of the links above come from newnet news. No accident. I love the feed. Its like a shot of good news tequila every morning – something to warm your spirits.