While renewable forms of generation offer a much cleaner and more environmentally friendly approach to the creation of electricity they also pose some challenges. If the sun isn't shining or the wind blowing, well you get the point, electric utilities still must keep the lights on with standby backup generation. But increasing environmental and political pressure for cleaner coal generation and fewer nuclear sites are straining what has historically been the base load and standby generation sources and it's going to get worse. These traditional generation sites are becoming too expensive to operate and/or reaching their end of service life and being decommissioned.

Unlike gas and oil which are created and stored for future use, electricity is the only energy source that is generated in response to demand. Another words, supply always equals demand. This unique situation requires careful orchestration of not only supply but also demand by utilities. Which, for industrialized nations with complex systems of transmission and distribution wires (called the grid), this job becomes even more difficult without control of all of the grid connected private generation sites. This situation has the electric utility industry scrambling for solutions. A solution not only for industrialized nations but for the other 20% of the world's population who live without any electric power and upwards of 35% to 40% if you include those with unreliable power.

So what's the answer? It's being called a "distributed energy resources" approach. It's expected that localized personal power stations will become main stream for each home or business. Power stations will include a mix of both renewable generation from either solar, wind or other renewable forms combined with a natural gas burning device, such as a fuel cell or micro-turbine depending on geographic location. In regions with existing grid systems, power stations will be grid connected to enable selling power back and forth to and from the local serving utility. So if you have excess power available you may be sending it down the street to your neighbor with the accounting all accomplished by the serving utility. Sites without existing grid systems will operate as standalone power stations serving one or maybe several dwellings. Both types of applications would be monitored and controlled through the Internet.

The Natus Smart Energy Appliance was designed specifically to provide a solution for the connection, monitoring and control of these types of distributed personal power stations and evolving generation technologies. It offers owners a safe, secure and reliable means of controlling their energy resources and utilization delivering long term energy cost savings.