What is a Smart Grid?
The current electrical grid is based on a design that was developed ages ago when needs were simple. This design was to develop localized power generation around communities with most homes only requiring to power a light bulb and a small appliance.
In the past, smart grids have been considered controversial based on the lack of privacy and security however, this is no longer of great concern as technological advancements have surpassed irregularities within grids automatically reducing the risk of installing smart equipment for energy management.
A smart grid helps the environment by assisting the user in reducing the use of energy by installing equipment such as smart metres and Energy Management Systems(EMS), in return, allowing homeowners and commercial buildings to use reliable energy when it’s needed, eliminating waste.
In smart grids, two-way communication is used between the utility and the user and is essentially equipment and devices that offer a digital communication platform, which was designed well over a decade ago, with installed components enabling the user or EMS to detect, react and proactively and securely make changes while the system is operational.
It allows for newer technology to be integrated into the grid such as solar, wind and, with newer developments, electrical vehicles. The user’s consumption is managed by measuring consumption through a smart metre further enabling the utility to adjust output to the grid based on energy needed at certain times of the day. It can also determine outages in the case of bad weather or system failure at a substation and reroute power to provide energy to offline areas.
An efficiently managed grid will allow for utilities to reduce operating costs in return allowing for a possible decrease in energy prices to the user. Utilities will be in control and be enabled to efficiently and predictably manage electricity production as well as avoid the need to start up costly secondary power generation equipment.