According to a government-led committee, South Korea could lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 million tonnes annually with a national smart grid.

The committee’s findings estimate that smart grids would reduce overall energy use by 3% and lower the peak load for electric power by about 6%. The electricity savings would be equal to the output of seven 1 GW nuclear power reactors.

The committee will comprise the government officials, company executives and representatives and researchers. It did not provide a cost estimate for the project.

The consumers could reduce their electricity bills by an average of 15% by charging their appliances and cars during off-peak hours, as indicated through the use of smart meters.

State-run electricity monopoly Korea Electric Power Corp plans to set up a $65 million smart grid pilot project in the country’s southern Jeju Island by 2011.

It would act as a test-bed for the nationwide initiative. The grid will incorporate two 10 MW substation transformers and the four power distribution lines located near an area with 3,000 households, commercial districts and green energy facilities that include a wind farm.

The US has the same plans for a nationwide smart grid, with $4.5bn earmarked for investment in related technologies.