A smart grid is an electrical distribution grid which allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and often includes sensing along the transmission lines. With these sensing and communication measures, a smart grid will consist of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies to create greater energy efficiency amongst the distribution equipment.
A smart grid often also includes the integration of renewable energy sources. These renewable sources, along with a more decentralized energy supply and bidirectional power flows, can increase the efficiency and sustainability of the power distributed through the grids and reduce the effect of peak power times on the power infrastructure.
Smart grids offer:
- More efficient transmission of electricity
- Faster restoration of electricity after power disturbances
- Reduced operations and management costs for utilities and consumers
- Reduced peak demand
- Increased integration of renewable energy systems
- Integration of customer-owned power generation systems
- Improved security
Features of smart grids
Smart grids offer the opportunity for new or improved services. These can include fire monitoring and alarms that can shut off power and call emergency services. They can also offer power line networking, including broadband, to provide service to any area power can reach.
Demand response support
Through demand response systems, smart grids allow generators and loads to interact in an automated fashion to coordinate demand and flatten power spikes.
Through load adjustment and balancing, peak curtailment and peak leveling, demand-side management, and advanced metering systems, smart grids can increase the overall power efficiency by understanding where power is needed and reducing redundancy. Also, the power grid can respond faster to dips and peaks in power demand, and smart devices on the consumer side can be scheduled to run during off-peak times to reduce the overall infrastructure load.
Through two-way communication, a smart grid allows for bidirectional energy flows and other technologies to use reverse flow energy to support the larger grids.
Through state estimation, fault detection, and self-healing technology, smart grids can maintain networks and infrastructure without technician intervention; this creates increased reliability for electrical supply and reduced vulnerability to disasters or attack.
Smart grid companies
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