The Growth of Smart Grid
Globalization, growing living standards, and technological improvements have led to a rise in energy demand. This led to a rise in power consumption that might get out of control. This is problematic for the worldwide sustainability of the environment and clean energy production. Around 75%–80% of the world’s energy usage and 75% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to cities.
The traditional power grid is the established centralized method of transferring electrical energy. Traditional power networks are only concerned with a few essential functions, including energy production, transmission, and control. The current electrical system is unreliable due to several obstacles, including considerable transmission losses, poor power quality, grave danger of rolling blackouts, an inadequate supply of electricity, and many others.
Traditional systems lack real-time monitoring and control, creating a niche for cutting-edge intelligent grid technology. Better energy management systems must be deployed in addition to a comprehensive revamp of the power supply mechanism. The concept of a “smart grid” applies all innovative elements to improve efficiency, dependability, and longevity.
This article will briefly outline the cutting-edge smart grid technologies that will rule the future. But before we get started, let’s examine what the term “smart grid” actually means.
The grid is made smart by digital IoT technology, which enables two-way communication between the utility and its consumers and sensing along the transmission lines. The smart grid will develop into an integrated system of controls, computers, automation, analysis, and new technologies and apparatus, much like the Internet. Due to its flexibility, and efficiency, it is simpler to set up and takes up less space than a traditional grid.
“A Smart Grid is an electricity network that allows devices to communicate between suppliers and consumers, manage demand, protect the distribution network, save energy, and reduce costs (European Commission, 2012).“
Global Smart Grid Market:
According to Transparency Market Research, the global smart grid market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 17.8% to reach US$ 845.6 bn in 2031 from US$ 139.5 bn in 2020.
Smart grids are becoming increasingly popular due to supportive policies from regional governments and a rise in energy demand. As a result, the market is anticipated to be driven by factors like the popularity of smart meters, regional government efforts, and funding for cutting-edge grid projects. Additionally, as the number of market participants increases globally, the smart grid industry grows, opening up significant income prospects for market participants.
Nevertheless, the market for cutting-edge smart grid technologies is constrained by poor electricity access, particularly in developing nations, and weak government restrictions and initiatives to modernize and expand grid infrastructure.
What are the Benefits of Smart Grid?
Benefits are vital criteria for any technology to scale at large. Smart Grids directly benefit the environment and the economy; they play a vital role in the energy sector. By 2030, the Smart Grid can increase its efficiency by 9%, saving US$ 42 billion in the first year of operation. The following are some benefits of Smart Grid.
- Efficient Two-Way Distribution: It is an essential factor that increases energy efficiency. The energy will be efficiently utilized as the two-way flow of electricity between generators and consumers ensures that there will be no waste of energy. And as it uses less energy than the traditional grids, it is more energy efficient, which results in low cost for consumers, and reduces greenhouse gases which lessens the effect of Global Warming.
- Decentralized Distribution: Decentralized energy system provides opportunities for deploying clean energy sources locally and expanding access to clean energy in remote communities. Decentralized system sources often have a lower capital cost than large central power plants. As a result, energy consumers become producers and have a more significant economic stake in efficient energy production and consumption.
- Decrease in outage and maintenance needs: Smart grids can detect and respond to any problems, which helps to reduce maintenance expenditure as it prevents outages by automatically variating and redirecting the power supply.
- Better control of energy consumption: Consumers can pay according to their consumption rather than a set charge. End users who employ renewable energy sources like solar panels on their rooftops are permitted to sell any extra energy generated on their land. Because of this new infrastructure, the power production, delivery, and storage trend are shifting towards more decentralization.
- Increase in usage and efficiency of clean energy: They minimize waste by ensuring that energy may be efficiently utilized, stored, and distributed regardless of how far a city may be from wind and solar farms. Reducing energy consumption can decrease greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants. With smart meters able to recognize peak hours, consumers can make more informed decisions about how and when to use electricity.
What are the challenges of a Smart Grid System?
As the saying goes, “Nothing is perfect”; even Smart Grids are not exceptional regarding their drawbacks. With so many benefits for the economy and environment, smart grids also come up with a few drawbacks.
- Potential Cyber-Security Risks: Like all internet-enabled devices, Smart Grids are also vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks. As all parts of the Grids are interconnected and accessed remotely, it opens the chances for cyber-attacks which causes massive distress to the system and consumers. Encryption, authentication, security patches, and malware removal are some measures to prevent cyber-attacks, and ensuring an attack on some part of the grid should not affect the whole system.
- Huge Initial Investment Costs: As Smart-Grids are sophisticated technology, it requires enormous capital for large-scale implementation. To implement the smart grids fully, Investment in electricity grids must average around USD 600 billion annually through 2030 to urge on the Net Zero Scenario trajectory, which is nearly double the current investment levels, at around USD 300 billion per annum.
- Lack of Incentive Measures: Smart Grids are ideal for implementation everywhere, but due to a lack of incentives, it’s not happening. Policymakers play an essential role in incentivizing the move towards renewable energy and making it more economical.
The transition toward the smart grid is one of the best technological advancements that help us to grow economically and protect the environment by reducing green gases and pollution. Even though traditional grids have served us for over a hundred years, it’s time to adopt Smart Grids for smarter benefits.
And Smart Grids opened a possibility of a gradual transition from non-renewable energy to renewable clean energy resources, which benefits us in the long term. However, as of now, environmental damages are irreplaceable, and Smart Grids and Smart Meters are paving a path toward a sustainable future for our and upcoming generations.
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