Smart Grid

What is smart grid:

Smart grid is an electrical grid which includes a variety of operational and energy measures including smart meters, smart appliances, renewable and efficient energy resources. Electronic power conditioning, control of the production and distribution of electricity are the important aspects of a smart grid. The grid,” refers to the electric grid, a network of transmission lines, substations, transformers that deliver electricity from the power plant to buildings, apartments or business.  Our current electric grid was built in the 1890s and improved upon as technology advanced through each decade. Today, it consists of more than 9,200 electric generating units with more than 1 million megawatts of generating capacity connected to more than 300,000 miles of transmission lines. Digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and sensing along the transmission lines is what makes the grid smart. Like the internet the smart grid will consist of controls, computers, automation, and innovative technologies and equipment working together. These technologies will work with the electrical grid to respond digitally to change the electric demand.

Things that make a “Grid” Smart?

According to the Department of Energy (United States), four types of advance technology can transform a typical electrical grid into a smart grid which are follows:

  • Fully automated and integrated two-way communication between the overall components of an electric grid.
  • Automatic control for power distribution, faults and repairs.
  • Advance management panel, decision support software and mechanism.
  • Accurate sensing and measurement technologies.

Components of Smart Grid:

To achieve a modernized smart grid, a wide range of technologies should be developed and implemented. These technologies generally are grouped into the following:

  • Intelligent Appliances: are capable of deciding when to consume energy based on customer preferences. This can lead to a reduction in peak loads which have an impact on electricity generation costs.
  • Smart Power Meters: The smart meters provide two-way communication between power providers and the end user consumers to automate billing data collections, detect device failures and dispatch repair crews to the exact location much faster.
  • Smart Substations: Substations include monitoring and control of non-critical and critical operational data such as power status, power factor performance, breaker, security, transformer status, etc. substations are used to transform voltage several times in many locations, thereby providing safe and reliable delivery of energy. Smart substations are also necessary for splitting the path of electricity flow into many directions. Substations require large and very expensive equipment to operate, including transformers, switches, capacitor banks, circuit breakers, a network protected relays and several others.
  • Super Conducting cables: These are used to provide long distance power transmission, and automated monitoring and analysis tools capable of detecting faults itself or even predicting cable and failures based on real-time data weather, and the outage history.
  • Integrated Communications: The key to a smart grid technology is integrated communications. It must be fast enough to satisfy the real-time needs of the system. Depending upon the need, many different technologies are used in smart grid communication like Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), wireless, cellular, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), and BPL.

 

Advantages of smart grid:

Following are some of the major advantages of smart grid:

  • Efficient transmission and distribution of electric power.
  • Quickly restore electric power after power failure due to faults.
  • Lower cost for operation, maintenance, management, and electricity for both utilities and consumers.
  • Lower electric power tariff and rates due to reduced peak demand.
  • Provide better options of integration of renewable energy for self -power generation systems.
  • Improve the security and protection.

Applications of a Smart Grid Systems:

Deployment of Digital Technology in smart grids ensures the reliability, efficiency and accessibility to the consumers regarding all utilities which count towards the economic stability of the nation. Following are some of the applications of a smart grid:

  • They improve the adeptness of transmission lines.
  • Quick recovery after sudden disturbance in lines and feeders.
  • Cost reduction
  • Reduction of peak demand
  • They possess the ability to be integrated with renewable energy sources on a large level which leads to sharing of load and reduction on large scale.

The smart grid represents an unprecedented opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability, and efficiency that will contribute to our economic and environmental health. The benefits associated with the smart grid include:

  • More efficient transmission of electricity.
  • Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances.
  • Reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and ultimately lower power costs for consumers.
  • Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates.
  • Increased integration of large scale renewable energy systems.
  • Better integration of customer owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems.
  • Improved security.

Additionally, the Smart Grid is a way to address an aging energy infrastructure that needs to be upgraded or replaced. It’s a way to address energy efficiency, to bring increased awareness to consumers about the connection between electricity use and the environment. And it’s a way to bring increased national security to our energy System drawing on greater amounts of home-grown electricity that is more resistant to natural disasters and attack.

The Smart Grid consists of millions of pieces and parts, controls, computers, power lines, new technologies and equipment. It will take some time for all the technologies and equipment to be installed and analyzed before it comes fully on line.  Once mature, the Smart Grid is likely to bring the same kind of transformation that the Internet has already brought to the way we live, work, play, and learn.

Sources:

What is the Smart Grid? (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2018, from https://www.smartgrid.gov/the_smart_grid/smart_grid.html

What Exactly Is A Smart Grid? Smart Grid Applications. (2015, May 28). Retrieved January 12, 2018, from https://www.electricaltechnology.org/2015/05/what-is-a-smart-grid.html

4 ways the smart grid benefits you. (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://www.whatissmartgrid.org/featured-article/4-ways-the-smart-grid-benefits-you

Grid Modernization and the Smart Grid. (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2018, from https://energy.gov/oe/activities/technology-development/grid-modernization-and-smart-grid

 

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