The current mode of transmission and distribution of electricity has proven to be unreliable and inefficient. This is because the grid technology currently in use has changed very little since it was developed. Researchers are now experimenting with smart grid technologies to overcome the shortcomings of the traditional grid. A smart grid can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 211 million metric tons and is much more reliable than a traditional grid. This is what is driving investors to put their money in this new technology. By 2020, the industry is expected to have a valuation of over $400 billion.
Switching to a smart grid is all about providing consumers with a financial edge not just improving power management and adopting greener technology. Research has shown that when consumers know exactly how much energy they consume; they are likely to take appropriate measures to reduce their energy use.
Why Do We need Smart Grids?
Smart grids are not only aligned perfectly with the needs and demands of our time, they are also predicted to have significant long-lasting effects. For instance, the technology will overhaul aging equipment and bring things up to speed. This will help to reduce the likelihood of blackouts, burnouts and power surges. The technology will also reduce both the cost of energy consumption and production. With its full implementation, smart grids will make renewable power feasible and equip the grid to meet increasing energy demands. More importantly, however, the technology will give consumers near real-time control of their energy bills and facilitate large-scale electric vehicle charging.
Vision Of The Future Grid
A seamless, cost-effective electricity system, from generation to end-use, capable of meeting all clean energy demands and capacity requirements, with:
- Universal access to consumer participation and choice (including distributed generation, demand-side management, electrification of transportation, and energy efficiency)
- Significant scale-up of clean energy (renewables, natural gas, nuclear, clean fossil)
- Two-way flows of energy and information
- Reliability, security (cyber and physical), and resiliency
- Holistically designed solutions (including regional diversity, AC-DC transmission and distribution solutions, micro grids, energy storage, and centralized-decentralized control)
Through outreach and engagement with stakeholders, the GTT has developed a vision of the future electric grid and a strategy to address national and regional grid modernization issues. This vision recognizes the diversity and uncertainty in future energy demands and energy generation options, and recognizes inherent regional differences in needs, goals, and available resources.
Making changes to the electricity system is a progressive process that will require a long-term planning horizon, flexible management, and a sustained commitment. Focused collaborative discussions are crucial to identify priorities, national goals, specific targets, stakeholder roles, and to develop a network of effective public-private partnerships necessary to successfully modernize the grid. The multiple drivers and dynamic nature of our evolving electric power system necessitates systematic discussion to address grid challenges.
We are moving towards a more digitized economy with a growing dependence on electricity and a lower tolerance for disruptions and outages. As grid assets near or exceed their end-of-life estimates, the nation is presented with opportunities for modernizing the electric power system with newer, more advanced technologies to increase the reliability and resiliency of the grid.
If you want to be a part of this amazing transition to a greener environment, join us in this catalyst movement and make the earth a better habitual place.