What is a smart grid?


What is a smart grid?

  • A smart grid is a collection of technologies that makes the management and delivery of electricity more efficient and resilient.

  • A smart grid uses sensor-enabled technology to provide real-time intelligence that can help to transmit electricity more efficiently, reduce peak demand, integrate renewable energy, and lower the cost of producing, delivering and managing electricity.

There’s been a great deal of coverage in the news about the rise of “smart grid” technology in response to concerns about the availability, cost and security of the nation’s energy supply. Along with smart streets and smart water management, the smart grid is part of the smart city trend that is gaining momentum throughout the country and the world. But what is a smart grid exactly, and what benefits does it offer governments and consumers? This brief introduction, “What is a smart grid?”, provides an overview of this technology and its advantages.

What is a smart grid?

The term “grid” refers to the electric grid, which is a network of power substations, transformers, transmission lines and other technology that deliver electricity from power plants to residential and commercial buildings. The U.S. grid was built in the late 1890s and has been constantly updated in the decades since. To handle the increasing demands for power and to better integrate renewable sources of energy, local governments are implementing “smart grid” solutions that use digital technology to make the delivery of energy more efficient and the power supply more resilient.

What is a smart grid infrastructure?

Smart grid infrastructure includes a wide variety of technologies for collecting data about the grid and communicating it to utility officials and consumers. These technologies include:

  • Advanced sensors to evaluate the stability of grids.

  • Smart meter technology that provides consumers with information about power consumption and availability.

  • Relays that identify faults and recover automatically.

  • Feeder switches that automatically reroute power transmission around problems.

  • Batteries that store excess electricity which can be made available to consumers during peak demand periods.

What is a smart grid designed to do?

A smart grid is designed to provide utility officials and consumers with more information about the supply of energy. For consumers, Internet-connected thermostats and appliances enable homes and businesses to use energy more efficiently and at times when the cost of electricity is lower. For utilities, the smart grid can help to reduce cost while improving the efficiency of the existing grid and providing greater protection against cyber threats.

What is a smart grid’s greatest benefit?

The greatest benefit of the smart grid is its ability to use data to deliver power more cost-efficiently, and to be more resilient by sensing and resolving issues faster, recovering quickly after an outage and routing power transmission around problems.

What is a smart grid’s biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for implementing a smart grid is the time and cost of developing, installing and testing the many technological elements required for collecting, transmitting, analyzing and communicating data.

What does a smart grid offer consumers?

For consumers, smart grid technology offers more control over the use of electricity. Smart meters and other devices can provide consumers with information about how much electricity they are using and when electricity is most affordable, helping to save money.

What is a smart grid solution from Spectrum Enterprise?

Spectrum Enterprise serves as a trusted partner to smart cities throughout the U.S., delivering the solutions that provide the foundation for smart grid technology and other smart city initiatives. Spectrum offers a two-way, fully interactive digital network along with symmetrical connection speeds of up to 100 Gbps for government and enterprise clients that provide the connectivity smart city technology requires. Additionally, Spectrum provides gigabit connections to homes and businesses, thousands of WiFi hotspots, and one of the country’s largest LTE cellular networks.

Learn more about Spectrum Smart Cities at www.spectrumsmartcities.com.