Utility companies are trying to figure out way to tap the electricity that has been hiding about in your home. It's surprising, but with smart-grid technology, it will be possible to sell back some of that untapped electricity to your favorite utility company, to save you money in the long run. Basically, there is a lot of stored energy inside your home. You'll never guess where though. It's in your water heater and utility companies want to tap those thousands of water heaters to generate electricity. Apparently, water heaters can store up to 25 gigawatts of energy. All that's needed is to make controls so that you can tap this stored energy.
However, for consumers to put energy back into the grid requires smart-grid technology. Or consumers could install the controls necessary to tap that stored energy for their own use, reducing their carbon footprint. What would happen is that consumers would actually sell this electricity back to utilities, which is kind of amazing.
"Putting 2,000 megawatts on the market is enough to supply 5 million people, or half the state of Michigan," Terry Boston, CEO of PJM Interconnection, said. "In one year, we had enough to cover the city of Pittsburgh."
This untapped electricity would definitely be very useful for most home owners. The technology to tap it isn't that far away, so soon, people will be generating electricity in their homes. Until then, you can change your aging water heater to new energy efficient water heaters like the GE Hybrid Water Heater. It consumes 62% less electricity and can save up to $320 a year on energy bills.
This water heater uses heat pump technology with traditional electric elements so that it pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water tank. It comes with a panel from which you can control a bunch of features.
The GE Hybrid Water Heater features a user–friendly electronic control system that offers both simplicity and flexibility, giving consumers as much or as little control of operating modes as they like: Set the thermostat and forget it or easily change the desired water temperature or operating mode to maximize energy efficiency.
[via Cnet, images via GE]