In the 21st century, Utility companies are bound to face a lot of challenges due to many factors such as rise in demand of power supply, aged infrastructure they hold, hike in fuel prices, exhausting nonrenewable source of energy, etc. The class of technology using computer based remote control and automation called Smart grid should be able to address these concerns. The electric utility companies are on its way to incorporate this system into their network so as to meet the future demands in the Energy industry.
As the name indicates, the Smart grid technology makes the electric grid smart by modernizing it. This emerging technology will revolutionize the utilities industry. In simple words, Computer aided automated electric network can be termed as Smart grid. Computerizing means adding digital communication methodologies into the electric grid, and establishing a two way interactive communication between substations. Suitable sort of sensors are developed and installed at required areas to gather the data in an easier way. Similar to the internet, a digital two way communication technology is established between the customer and the utility company. All the components in the Grid such as the transmission lines, transformers, substations, etc. should get a new face by this digital means of operation.
Effect on Utility companies
Smart grid opens up to a world of unmatched opportunities for the power supply industry to grow. The transition period is critical as it requires a lot of testing before implementing the digital equipment to the existing network. Educating the Consumers and developing regulatory standards are significant during this transition period.
Here we list the major benefits of moving to Smart grid:
Efficient management of power outages
Smart grid technology does have the capacity to counter act on blackouts and minimize the after effects to some point. As we all know that a serious blackout may bring up a variety of hardships to critical services like hospitals, traffic, police, communication, banking, security, disaster management, etc. Winter is prone to these sorts of incidents. When the existing network gets replaced by smart grid technology, it helps in finding out the affected black out region in the grid so that it can be isolated immediately. Thus it minimizes the spreading of the outages before it extend to a large scale damage. The Smart grid technology is programmed in such a way that it allows choosing the best possible mode of operation. When power outages are detected, smart grid technology helps to analyze the possibility of self-healing or auto repairing. Otherwise further communications will be made to the utilities to give a quicker response. Thus the Smart grid technology adds flexibility to the electric network and prepares it to face emergency situations such as heavy storms, solar flares or earthquakes. Due to its two way interactive capacities, the Smart grid will perform an automatic re-routing when an outage occurs.
How Customers are benefitted
Smart grid technology development allows the users to manage their electric usage more conveniently with provision to know their consumption online, similar way you do the online management of your own banking accounts. A crystal clear and timed picture of your usages will be displayed in the associated smart meters. Development of a home based electric power generation system is one of the main objectives in this Smart grid technology deployment. This system will enable you to derive the power required for the home based activities by utilizing the renewable power sources such as the wind and the solar power. By utilizing the renewable source of energy effectively, the future energy demands can be established up to some level.
Deployment of a perfect online Smart grid system may take a long time from now, as it requires upgrade of vital parts, from transmission lines to transformers and introduction of new digital gadgets. Smart grids are likely to bring the same kind of revolution that the cyberspace has already brought into our life.