Clean and renewable energy is gaining popularity throughout the nation. From solar to wind to building efficiency, there’s been talk about the need to generate more sustainable, reliable forms of energy. Smart grid is an essential piece of the clean and renewable energy mix, but many people don’t have a clear understanding of what it is exactly.
Smart grid is defined as “the digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and the sensing along the transmission lines is what makes the grid smart. Like the Internet, the Smart Grid will consist of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies and equipment working together, but in this case, these technologies will work with the electrical grid to respond digitally to our quickly changing electric demand.”
Homes equipped with smart readers will be able to continuously keep in touch with the utility company. This modern, responsive, and interactive form of digital information flow provides consumers with various benefits.
When properly implemented, smart grid technologies increase efficiency in production, transportation and consumption, improve reliability and resiliency, integrate renewable power into the grid to improve sustainability, and increase economic efficiency through electricity markets and consumer participation.
A smarter electric grid helps to lower energy costs. Consumers are able to track energy use in real-time, so there aren’t any unexpected spikes in monthly bills. Energy bills are based on the electric use of each appliance in your home and the length of time you use the appliances. Smart grid makes it easier for the consumer to recognize when and where the majority of their energy costs are coming from so they can form their consumption habits around non-peak times. Consuming electricity during non-peak times will result in lower monthly bills. The utilities will see lower costs for operations and management of the grid, which will also help lower the price of electricity for the consumer.
Smart grid allows for real-time troubleshooting. When there’s a problem with the existing, outdated grid, a utility worker must drive to the source of the problem and diagnose it using the on-site information. With smart grid implementation, problem solving can begin immediately thanks to the flow of information the utility receives from its computers throughout the grid. This process reduces the time spent on solving problems and allows for faster solutions.
This efficient problem-solving tactic will help during and after blackouts. Energy can be rerouted through the smart system, allowing for faster restoration. The smooth flow of energy also decreases the chance of a blackout happening in the first place.
A smarter grid enables us to seamlessly integrate various forms of renewable energy into our consumption. Solar and wind farms are spread throughout country. Smart grid ensures safe storage for energy produced by these farms while allowing it to be distributed where it is needed, when it is needed. It also allows for easy, convenient charging of electric cars. Without smart grid integration, homes may not be able to handle the additional energy. But smart meters connect with the utility, communicating the need for additional power.
Updating the county’s outdated grid will result in various benefits for the country’s infrastructure, utility companies, and the consumers. As a nation we’ve become smarter about our energy use. Smart grid allows our cities to become smarter and more efficient. A smarter grid makes for a stronger country.