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European energy strategy will get us 'in trouble'

Friday, November 14th 2014 by Ellen Branagh

European governments have no energy strategy and are keeping consumers “dumb”, the creator of a smart home energy-saving device has said.

Stefan Grosjean, CEO of Smappee, warned that people need to become more aware of their energy consumption now, before we are all “in trouble”.

He said that other countries could soon be forced to follow his native Belgium in resorting to “brownouts” – selective electricity switch-offs to conserve energy.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk, he said: “There is no awareness. I’ve seen it in other countries but over here in Europe, our governments really have no strategy with our energy".

Mr Grosjean claimed that energy consumption will double by 2050 at current rates, bringing with it a need to increase the use of renewable energy.

But he said people were not aware of the urgency of the situation.

“People say, ‘well we can get a device from the utility that gives us a total’.

“They are really kept dumb by authorities that don’t have any strategy, governments that really failed in this.

“And we’ll all get in trouble.”

Mr Grosjean used plans for brownouts in Belgium as a warning to other nations.

The country’s federal government has announced plans for selectively turning off electricity to certain areas as a precaution in case supplies run short this winter as a result of the closure of several nuclear reactors.

And in Britain, National Grid has warned that its capacity to supply electricity this winter will be at a seven-year low, with spare electricity capacity expected to be down to around 4% this winter, from 17% three years ago.

Mr Grosjean said: “Imagine no electricity, that means transportation fails.

“You can’t heat your home if you have gas because there is no gas. To transport gas in the grid you need electricity in the system.

“Water, the same. Pumping water in water towers doesn’t work. It’s terrible.”

Mr Grosjean, who said he was angry about governments not educating people, said energy consumption will have to adapt to fit with renewable energy.

“People need to understand that in the future of green renewable energy which we all want and the planet needs, we can’t press a button to say, ‘wind blow, because we need energy’, ‘sun shine, we need energy’.

“We will have to adapt and consume in a way that is adapted to the production of that renewable energy – that is what is called the smart grid.

“And therefore homes need to become smarter, home automation will be there, and that is why smart meters will come to tell you, ‘it’s high, really it’s critical now’.”

Mr Grosjean’s device, Smappee, clamps onto a household meter’s main power cable, measuring the consumption of each appliance to help people save costs.

By showing the usage of each device with a companion app, it is hoped to show people where they can save costs – said to be up to 12% a year.

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