You may have probably heard of Smart Grid from your energy provider or the news. That is perhaps all you came close to it.
The grid refers to a network of transmission lines, substations, transformers, and other contributing tools, which deliver electricity from the power plant to households or businesses. This is what you plug into whenever you switch on your computer or lights. The current American electric grid was built towards of the 19th century. It is often improved with the advancement of technology every few years (it is becoming more frequent due to rapid transformation in technology changes). Currently, it holds approximately 9,000 generating units with over 1 million megawatts of generating capacity. The public can access it via approximately 300,000 miles of transmission lines. This has been for a long time, a truly an engineering marvel but is not proving insufficient to satisfy the demand hence the need for improvement. The only way forward would be a new kind of electric grid built afresh to handle all the established digital and computerized equipment upgraded over the years. Managing the needs of electricity of the 21st century is becoming more complicated than anticipated.
Turning the Grid ‘Smart’
So what is smart grid? This is digital technology, which can allow two-way communication between utility and customers through senses on the transmission. Just like the internet, smart Grid uses controls, automation, computers, and latest technologies in collaboration to achieve their intention. The difference is unlike the Internet, the smart Grid uses the technologies for the electric grid. The result is digital responses to the quickly changing electric demand of the modern century.
What Smart Grid does
Smart Grid propels the energy industry to high levels of reliability. The clients can benefit from constantly available power to run their companies and homes. This will boost the economic an environmental health. The transition period should include major testing to ensure it can be trusted. It comes with technology improvement, consumer education, and high development standards. The best part is that it enhances sharing of information between projects to ensure the benefits are availed quickly. They include;
- Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, such as renewable energy systems
- Improved safety measures and security
- Increased integration of large-scale renewable energy systems
- More efficient transmission
- 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
Knowing the hazardous effects of a blackout; it is important to have lasting solutions. Blackouts can have a domino effect (series of failures, which will affect different sectors of the economy). The sectors, which to crumble fast are the banking, communications, traffic, and security. This means a country can quickly deteriorate from a stable to uncontrollable situation. Homeowners lacking heat in winter may have a big trouble. Smart Grid therefore, brings preparedness for emergencies to a new level. It will deal with storms, earthquakes, large solar flares, terrorist attacks, or whatever more. The two-way interactive capacity will auto-reroute when equipment fails in the face of outages. This feature will help reduce the impact of the hazard. The smart Grid is capable of detecting and isolating outages to contain the situation before the possibility of a large-scale blackout. This will save many sectors of the economy, which are vulnerable to power-blackouts
The Smart Grid is not limited to utilities and technologies. Instead, it is about giving the information and tools necessary to make choices about energy use. If you already manage activities such as personal banking from your PC, it will be easy to participate in the power management. You will not need to await monthly statements to find out about the bill. You can have precise and accurate monitoring of your bills thanks to the smart meters to let you view and control your consumptions. Viewing the cost, the level of use, and even when you use it will help control and conserve energy. At last, customers can have control of their utilities and make the most use of the budgets to make informed decisions.