The smart grid is a modern update to our electricity delivery system. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what smart grids are, how they work, and the benefits and challenges that come with them.
What Is A Smart Grid?
A smart grid is an energy management system (EMS) that is in control of the storage, distribution, and generation of electricity in a connected system. Smart grids are installed with sensors that transmit and gather data which makes it possible to adjust flows of electricity automatically. Grid managers are located remotely and receive this data in real-time so that they can take action immediately if a problem occurs.
A smart grid can also communicate with smart meters and switch consumers’ home appliances on automatically when energy prices are lower as a result of an abundance of power in the grid.
How Do Smart Grids Work?
Smart grids are able to produce power via sources of renewable energy in order to supplement the power in the grid. This energy from renewable sources is stored and distributed as needed during peak periods of demand as a way of reducing our dependency on energy produced by fossil fuels and as a backup system for power outages.
This method helps to match or balance our electrical consumption with our supply. This is achieved via the incorporation of automated digital metering, such as smart appliances and meters that record data based on consumption and output. These devices enable communication between all of the smart grid’s components via several secure IP addresses that enable an immediate response to system faults and changes in load demands.
The Benefits Of Smart Grids
The real-time information produced by a smart grid makes it easier for managers to take control of variations in consumption and generation remotely while reducing the likelihood of incidents and failures and reducing costs. Smart grids are also more accessible, due to the different sources of energy that can be integrated into them. They also give all of the members of the local community the opportunity to be both consumers and producers of their energy.
Most societies use a centralized energy generation system, in which electricity is generated in large industrial centers and transmitted over long distances to reach consumers. However, with a smart grid, societies can move to a distributed energy resource system, in which sources at different scales can be integrated into the supply without too much disruption.
The Challenges For Smart Grids
Despite the numerous benefits that smart grids offer, their implementation also comes with several challenges. Smart grids require many stakeholders that are responsible for the different parts of the energy system, which means that the rate and coordination of adopting new technology usually occur at different paces. There are also significant investments required to install the new devices and their infrastructure and there are a number of jurisdictional issues and regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome.