A smart grid is an electricity infrastructure system that enables consumers to more efficiently and environmentally-friendly consume power, and provides information and communication capabilities to utilities so they can keep power systems secure and operate smoothly.
Definitions of the Smart grid vary, but one common definition is an electronic network for electricity distribution that uses digital technology and communications to provide two-way communication between consumers and utility power providers. It includes consumer-facing devices like smart meters that monitor energy use in real time and provide real-time details about costs charged against them.
Smart grid benefits include increased reliability, security and efficiency; integration of renewable resources; improved customer service delivery and enhanced management of grid operations.
Smart meters installed by electric utilities gather information on how much electricity a house or business uses, enabling consumers to set schedules to turn off specific appliances at certain times and save money on energy bills. Furthermore, these intelligent devices can switch automatically between types of energy according to user demand.
Smart grid can also serve as an invaluable asset when dealing with extreme weather events that disrupt power distribution. By monitoring power lines and other facilities for outages and keeping businesses operational during outages, it can reduce customer impact while keeping businesses functioning smoothly.
Power recovery networks can also play a valuable role in quickly restoring power after an emergency, routing it directly to key services like hospitals and police departments rather than leaving them without electricity. Furthermore, they enable customer-owned generation equipment to produce electricity when utility generators are unavailable.
Smart grid technology is an indispensable solution to meet our increasing energy demands and address outdated infrastructure that must be upgraded or replaced. It promotes energy efficiency while helping address issues related to infrastructure deterioration or upgrade needs.
As technology develops further, smart grid will become ever-more essential. Through its use, components that make up the power grid can communicate more efficiently to meet our society's increasing energy demands. This makes for a smoother system.
Smart grids will enable utilities to integrate a range of energy resources more seamlessly without disrupting consumers, including small-scale producers generating and selling their electricity locally such as rooftop photovoltaic panels or microhydro generators. Furthermore, it will decrease transmission capacity requirements that often need to transfer energy long distances.