Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, is trialing Smart Grid technology in one of its stores.
The technology, developed in partnership with Imperial College London, monitors the national grid and detects peaks in demand. When demand is high, the system activates an in-store biofuel generator that burns waste oil and fat.
This, the company says, will help reduce the need for utility suppliers to use coal-powered generators to top up supply at periods of high demand.
"To ensure that both consumers and businesses have enough electricity at all times, power stations are kept on stand-by, ready to come into action when required,” explained Sainsbury’s property director Neil Sachdev. “The trouble is that two-thirds of the UK’s stand-by power comes from high-carbon-emitting non-renewable sources.”
Sachdev claimed that the supermarket’s operational agility allows it to adopt energy efficiency technologies such as Smart Grid, “rather than waiting for climate change legislation to bring about change”.
Tesco, the UK largest supermarket company, has also deployed Smart Grid technology. In 2010, the company won a European Business Award for the Environment for the European Commission for its practice of monitoring and mining the data produced by its various smart energy meters.