Green Business Bureau Blog
A Basic Understanding of Smart Grid
The first Smart Grid system was used in Italy on a commercial scale in 2005. The project cost about 2.1 billion Euros and yields an annual savings of about 500 million Euros. Keeping these significant figures in mind, let us begin at the beginning. What is a smart grid?
The Smart Grid is not a thing or an entity. It is a concept of a technologically contemporary power generation and delivery system meant to be used both for commercial as well as domestic services. It implies a re-vamping of the power infrastructure to meet the demands of an overburdened planet and power dependent mankind.
This brings us to the next issue. Why do we need it? What is wrong with the existing power production and distribution system? The existing energy sources are inadequate, finite and not friendly to the environment. The existing distribution system is rigid, wasteful and inadequate for growing needs. Alternative energy sources are a green step in the right direction. Bringing these smart energy options to the consumer while giving the consumer a chance to choose how much power he will buy and at what price…this is what is smart in the vision of the Smart Grid.
Smart Grid will enable the consumer to make economic and smart choices by giving them information and control over their transactions. The well-informed consumer will be able to modify his power consumption depending on his needs and the system’s ability to meet those needs at the most competitive market price.
Secondly, Smart grid will be able to integrate all sources of power, conventional or alternative. It will be able to accommodate and smoothly handle generation and storage of power while making transitions between, different sources as simple as “plug and play.” Whether the source of power is solar, wind or nuclear, smart grid will incorporate all within its scope.
Smart Grid will create the creation of new energy markets. It will provide quality power to businesses, reducing losses suffered by these businesses due to inadequate quality of power. The smart grid will be a self-healing system that will monitor, recognize and respond to deficiencies in the quality of power delivered. This has the potential to save America millions in losses currently incurred by businesses due to poor quality of power.
The Smart grid will have the resilience to withstand terrorist attacks as well as natural disasters. These are the things that threaten to drive the economy to a grinding standstill. Smart Grid will be technologically savvy with inbuilt self-healing abilities.
The energy production and delivery infrastructure in the United States dates back to the sixties and the seventies. A growing population has placed strain on the system. Also as we have become more electrical gadget dependent, the need for good quality power of stable voltage has multiplied geometrically. The more sophisticated the appliance, the less it is able to withstand crude variations in power supply.
In general, infrastructure is meant to serve one generation or thirty years. Thus America is at the crossroads when the entire energy infrastructure cries out for revamping. What better way to do it than with Smart Grid!