Since the 1950s, the electricity grid has been continuously evolving and has improved as technology advanced. As the number of digital technological units and the energy systems are increasing, modernization of the grid is very much needed. Smart Grid is the modernization of the electricity system.
Smart grid is one that includes a network of transmission lines, substations, transformers, etc., that delivers electricity from the power plant to our home or business. It allows two-way communication of electrical data, enabling real-time data collection. It has the capacity to manage energy generation better, ensuring an economically efficient, sustainable power system with low losses and high levels of quality and security of supply and safety.
It allows producers to increase or decrease production accordingly, thereby enabling the deployment of renewable energy. Smart grids improve energy efficiency by reducing transmission loss, making sure that an optimal amount of electricity is sent from the generators to consumers.
Why is it called so?
Compared to the one-way interaction of the electricity grids, smart grids integrate the action of all users in the network using computer-based remote control and automation. This two-way interaction between the utility and the users and the observation along the transmission lines makes the grid “smart”.
The grid can recognize any faults and allow self-healing of the network, with the use of technologies. It ensures a more reliable supply of electricity and less susceptibility to disasters. The flexibility of the grids allows the penetration of various renewable energy sources, thus being a sustainable technology.
Suppose, an electrical disruption such as a blackout occurs. A series of failures that follow can affect banking, communications, traffic and security. The Smart grid will make the electric power system better prepared to address such emergencies, allowing automatic rerouting, thanks to its two-way interactive capacity. This will minimize outages and effects. This technology will detect and isolate the outages, containing them before they become large-scale blackouts. This new technology will also help the electricity to resume quickly and strategically after the emergency.
How does it help?
Smart grid brings efficiency and sustainability in supplying electricity to meet the growing demand with the best of quality. It also enables real-time monitoring and control as well as reducing the losses, power quality management, outage management, etc.
Smart grid is applied in various fields. The applications includes: a wide number of generation sources which can quickly respond to the changing demand effectively connected to the grid and providing data about the operations to utilities and owners; computerized controls in homes set up to communicate with this grid can reduce their energy use or reduce the consumption during high priced hours; electric utilities which monitors and coordinates distribution assets while optimally operating them using controls, etc.
Smart grid provides a lot of features for the benefit of the customers:
- Real-time monitoring
- Outage management and quick restoration
- Better energy management
- Tracking and managing energy usage
- Conserving electricity
- Better facilitation of connections and operations
- Improve the system reliability, quality and security of supply
- Improve existing services efficiently
A smart grid consists of millions of parts- controls, power lines, equipment, computers, technologies, etc. Time will be taken to perfect all the technologies, along with installing the equipment and testing the systems before it comes online. The electricity grid is evolving gradually. Once ready, the grid will bring with it a transformation that the Internet had brought to the way we live. It represents a huge opportunity for energy industries to move into a new age of reliability, availability and efficiency.