Smart Grid – what is it about?

Smart Grid – what is it about?
Darrius Drew
Industry 4.0
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Smart Grid is an intelligent energy network that allows communication between energy producers and consumers and storage facilities. It is worth learning how this modern technology works.

Smart Grid – basic information

Modern and technologically advanced smart energy grids, known as Smart Grids, are extremely useful and provide a high level of flexibility for the rapid and optimal supply of energy. This solution connects different parts of the energy system into a single network and monitors its operation. As a result, renewable energy can be properly integrated into the electric grid. This can play a crucial role for the whole world, especially in the long term.

How does the Smart Grid work?

It is worth starting with how the Smart Grid works. The system relies on DSOs and TSOs to process and analyze energy consumption and demand information. Once the generator, grid operator, energy storage and consumer are optimally connected, a continuous exchange of data can be obtained that allows for a reduction in power fluctuations at the times of the most peak loads on the grid. All data is transmitted through the smart grid, which communicates its current consumption and demand to the energy producer, making it easy to increase the overall efficiency of a given infrastructure. Different types of communication networks can be used in Smart Grid, among which the following are worth mentioning: Wireless Mesh, WiMAX, Broadband and narrowband power line carrier systems for meter data transmission, as well as classic fiber optic or mixed cables. In addition, Smart Grid will also work well for the public cellular network or for public internet access via xDSL.

Advantages and disadvantages of Smart Grid

Smart Grid has many advantages that are worth knowing. First of all, it reduces the overload of the electrical grid, which directly affects the safety of its use. In addition, it improves the security of supply and stability of operation of any network and provides high system flexibility. What is important, Smart Grid brings many financial benefits to grid operators and guarantees large savings in energy costs. However, this is not the end of its advantages. It is also worth mentioning the possibility of analyzing the current energy consumption of the consumer, as well as quick processing of information about the system status between all components that are part of the Smart Grid. This solution also improves consumer awareness of energy consumption optimization and gives the possibility of its remote detection and troubleshooting on the fly.

However, as is well known, everything that has its advantages also has disadvantages. The weakness of Smart Grid is the high cost of upgrading the power system associated with additional communication infrastructure. Additionally, it is quite challenging to maintain the balance between the producer and the consumer and to take into account energy fluctuations. An important disadvantage is also the unsuitability of distribution networks to integrate a large number of renewable energy sources, which is often due to the technical condition that may require major changes.

Is Smart Grid a safe solution?

The biggest threat to Smart Grid technology is cyber attacks. Modern technology is based mainly on IT solutions, so many computers, computer networks and software are responsible for the efficiency and proper functioning of the entire system. The attack of cyber criminals can lead to large losses due to lack of power supply to specific consumers. This is a relatively new solution that may have some vulnerabilities that cyber attackers are just waiting for. Therefore, it is difficult to estimate the risk associated with such an attack due to the size, complexity and dynamic nature of Smart Grid and the unpredictable actions of potential attackers.

Main article photo: source: Designed by Freepik

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