Smart Grid is definitely on the verge of setting its mark, but most of the countries still use the “dumb grid” system of the 19th century. The current utility system, used in majority of the counties is pitifully outdated and unprepared to face major outages. Certain difficulties in power generation with the current operating system can invite a lot of trouble to the consumers who rely on these systems for their primordial needs- A/C, heat and lights. The most unconvincing factor is that one is charged for energy even when it is not used, as the electricity flow remains constant. Also, the base rate for all remains uniform, even if the consumption patterns differ and this can be extremely cost-discriminatory.
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In addition, the current utility system does not take heed of the cost-effective and ecoFriendly energy resources, instead of consuming coal and other non-renewable resources to generate electricity. A lot of money is spent every year to stretch electric lines as more and more people and businesses crowd up the remote and populated areas. Every line that is added needs meters, poles and substations to monitor, deliver and regulate energy
For all these reasons, Smart Grid Technology, the 21st century high-tech digital hardware and software, can be efficient as its goal is to modernize electricity transmission and distribution and make them more secure, more reliable, more efficient, more interactive and more renewable. Smart Grid sets certain vital, comprehensive standards with respect to smart pricing, time of the day tariff (different tariffs for peak and non-peak hours), integration of renewable energy and distribution of energy sources.
Today as we are all aware, energy crisis is an issue, which needs to be addressed magnanimously. Its up to all of us individually to take it up in our stride and contribute to the environmental development. Smart grid technology in reliance with the renewable energy sources can cut the pollution and greenhouse gases, emitted regularly by burning coal and natural gas to generate electricity.
An important feature of smart grid technology is that energy can be stored, and used in times of power failures and emergencies. With the arrival of lithium – ion batteries, energy can be saved and used in crisis. For e.g. energy from non-conventional forms-wind, sun can be stored when the wind is strong and sun is bright, and used in times when wind and solar energy are too bleak to generate electricity.
Another interesting nature of the smart grid technology is that electricity can be rationed as per an individuals requirement. All electronic gadgets can now be monitored, as only that much of electricity is consumed, as per the need, and the remaining surplus can either be stored or else power supply can be switched off manually, as the smart grid system delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to control appliances at consumers homes to save energy, reduce cost and increase transparency.
Smart Grid technology is a very useful and beneficial system that will make energy consumption more economical and save the depleting traditional resources as well as reduce the environmental menace caused by the harmful gases. Thus, it is imperative to spread the awareness and educate people globally about the advantages of the smart grid technology. College of Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) teaches Fundamentals of Smart Grid Infrastructure as one of its many subjects and emphasizes on the need to integrate this incredible system, which would reduce the power consumption and make electricity supply more reasonable.