A smart grid uses computer technology to improve the communication, automation, and connectivity of the various components of the power network. One key element of this system is the installation of smart meters in homes and businesses. Replacing the traditional analog meters, these digital devices are capable of two-way communication -- relaying information about both supply and demand between producers and consumers. The data collected via smart meters, too, is essential to the function of the smart grid. By analyzing this data, power generation plants are able to better predict and respond to periods of peak demand. This allows them to reduce production when less power is needed and quickly ramp up generation when peak periods approach.
What’s happening with the smart grid also reflects developments made in communications, from the Internet to cellular to wireless, as well as higher expectations from consumers regarding energy availability, rising energy costs and access to their energy information.
A smarter grid will also help integrate renewable energy including wind and solar into the energy mix.
Automated energy efficiency for consumers. Businesses do not usually have the time or inclination to proactively make their offices, factories and other environments more energy-efficient. In order to reduce energy usage and shift grid load, we need more services that automatically make smarter energy choices.
We show how innovations at the grid edge are helping to drive one of the most radical transitions in human history – a move from a centralized energy system to one that is more decentralized, more local and more efficient. Towards an energy system that is more democratic and where individuals have more control. An energy system that meets the needs of the global population, but that also benefits the planet.