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What is a Smart Grid and How does it Work?
What is a Smart Grid?
A smart grid is a digitally enabled electrical grid that collects, distributes and works on the information about the behaviour of all suppliers and consumers in order to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity service.
Smart Grid = Information Technology + Electrical Grid
The smart grid uses a two-way digital communication of technologies and computer processing which enables electricity industry to better manage energy delivery and transmission. It is capable of providing real time information and enable the nearby quick balancing of supply and demand.
How does a Smart Grid Work?
In addition to the traditional grid’s generating facilities and transmission network the smart grid consists of three new components
Smart control and measuring devices
Digital communication systems
Computer software programs
The smart devices include computer controlled generators and other power sources as well as meters, monitors and intelligent electronic devices that gather information about the demand for power, its availability from various sources, the delivery capacity of each part of the grid and the flow of power throughout the system. The computer software programs for the grid help to determine electricity efficiency and monitor the electrical functions of generators and consumers.
The digital communication and control is what makes the grid smart. Sensors that monitor and report conditions on the grid enable switches and other controls to respond instantly. Real time information permits system operators to predict, diagnose and reduce issues that have caused interruptions or serious power disturbances. With smart grid technologies end users have more control over their energy consumption and cost.
Smart Grid Characteristics
A Smart Grid would have the following fundamental characteristics −
Optimised Operation of the System − A smart grid allows consumers to play a part in optimising the operation of the system and provides consumers with greater information and choice of supply.
Enables Demand Response and Demand-Side Management − The smart grid enables demand response and demand-side management through the integration of smart meters, smart appliances and consumer loads, micro-generation and electricity storage and by providing consumers with information related energy use and price.
Reduces the Environmental Impacts − The smart grid facilitates the connection and operation of generators of all sizes and technologies and accommodates intermittent generation and storage options. It accommodates and facilitates all renewable energy sources, distributed generation, residential micro-generation and storage options, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact of the whole electricity supply system. It also provide simplified interconnection just like ‘plug-and-play’.
Optimised and Efficient use of Assets − The smart grid optimises and efficiently operates assets by intelligent operation of the delivery system and pursuing efficient asset management. This includes utilising assets depending on what is needed and when it is needed.
Improves Reliability and Security of Supply − The smart grid operates resiliently in disasters, physical or cyber-attacks and delivers enhanced levels of reliability and security of supplying energy. It assures and improves reliability and security of supply by anticipating and responding in a self-healing manner and strengthening the security of supply through enhanced transfer capabilities.
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