The utilities of smart grids, how they work and their impacts

in StemSocial5 months ago (edited)

Every nation has electric grids that helps the populace with the production, distribution and transmission of electricity from producer to consumer.

Without a grid, a country's electricity infrastructure cannot function. In fact, grids are the electricity infrastructures of every nation.

Grids from the point of view of electricity are usually made up of networks of power generators, transmission lines, transformers, metering systems to measure consumption and so on based on the electricity supply requirements.

Due to the intertwined nature of how grids work, it is easy to imagine that an infrastructure of such complexities would definitely come with some complications.

Just like it is in most, if not all engineering systems, there is a frequent need to monitor, maintain and upgrade/rebuild parts of every grid. This need was what gave birth to the idea of smart grids.

Transmission lines

So what is a smart grid? You might ask

In today's world, the word smart can easily be substituted with automation and digitization. Smart cities, smart watches are smartphones are all familiar examples of the picture I am trying to paint.

Hence, when we talk about smart grids, we are talking about an electric grid that has been empowered with the ability to perform all functions of an electric grid in an automated or digitized fashion.

Of course, that is only a basic general definition as the meaning of a smart lies in the specific functions it carries out in itself. That is to say, as is often the case with engineering, no smart grid can in reality be 100% smart at any point in time as it will always require some form of modification to fit the current needs.

However, that does not mean that there are no smart grids in existence at this time. As a matter of fact, a lot of countries in the world have taken steps into strengthening the efficiency their electric grids with digitization.

A good example of this would be the common smart metering system that gauges the amount of electricity consumed in comparison with the price the consumer paid for the units they are entitled to. A system like this ensures that the consumer does not use above or below the amount they paid.

Some advanced countries have smart systems installed in their grids that helps them automatically detect faults and impending blackouts. Such systems might even be programmed to try and fix the issues or make a recommendation for the fix.

Going further, such a system might even be able to automatically reroute the flow of electricity through other active or backup components of the grid such that the consumer does not experience a blackout brought by the failing component.

The main point of operating a smart grid is to ensure that there is increased efficiency and decentralization in production, distribution and consumption of electricity which will reduce leakage and waste of energy.

Smart grid, automation

Advantages of operating a smart grid

Running a smart grid can prove to be a very beneficial undertaking. Not only do smart grids make the flow of electricity efficient they also help provide a further tilt toward using renewable energy sources to generate electricity.

Solar panel

Asides that, smart can also help to automate the process of load balancing in grids, turning voltages up and down when needed to prevent overloads.

Those, among others represent some common beneficial applications of smart grids.

Also, smart grids also help to boost the reach of electricity distribution to areas that were erstwhile not reachable.

Impact of smart grids on the energy market

Energy is a commodity that is in steady demand and over the years this demand has been on the rise with the increase in human population and needs.

The demand for energy in form of electricity from time has contributed in no small part to the climate change that is currently being experienced which in turn has its own effects on the prices of energy in the market.

The development of resources that cannot be easily managed or upgraded can also be seen as a contributing factor to the scarcity and demand of energy.

Having and running smart grids can easily help stabilize and sustain energy prices and the market in general, with smart grids we will be able to reduce the risk of climate change and at the same time curb or limit the blockers that brings about a grid shutdown or blackout and adverse occurrences of that nature.



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