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USA: App to facilitate the use of renewable energy

USA: App to facilitate the use of renewable energy
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Christian Boas

Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) are currently working on an app to let users know when and where the power comes out of the socket. According to Christine Horne, a sociology professor at the WSU, this could do a lot:

“If consumers knew their energy mix during the day included 30 percent of renewable energies and 100 percent of coal at night, they would probably turn the dishwasher on early in the morning.”

Horne had previously determined that US Americans want to use more green electricity than before.

Knowledge
While the US president is denying climate change and withdrawing from the climate treaties, most US citizens would like to make their electricity consumption more environmentally friendly and independent of their political attitude. This is shown by a study carried out by Horne and Emily Kennedy, also a sociologist at WSU.

“With new communication technologies it is now possible to offer them this opportunity”, emphasizes the sociologist.

This is because a corresponding app could inform consumers more precisely at what times they actually rely on renewable energy.

problem
The basic problem is clear: solar power is only available during the day, and other eco-sources such as wind, water or tidal force are variable in time. In order to meet current needs at all times, electricity suppliers have to resort to fossil fuels.

The individual consumer ultimately has no idea when in the daytime the electricity mix from the socket actually has a high green electricity share. According to the study, US consumers are as interested in an app that helps them to use targeted green electricity as well as one that helps them save energy costs.

prototype
At the time of the study the app was still hypothetical. Because of the great interest, however, Horne and Kennedy now work with WSU engineers on a prototype. This is intended to enable users in real-time to see whether the electricity from the outlet is derived from renewable energy sources or sources such as coal power plants.

The team hopes that the app will help consumers reduce their electricity consumption and make it more environmentally friendly by using a washing machine or dishwasher, for example, when a lot of green electricity is available.

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