The traditional power grid is a system that consists of various elements, such as synchronous machines, power transformers, transmission lines, transmission substations, distribution lines, distribution substations, and loads. These are usually located far away from where the power is consumed and the power is transmitted through long transmission lines.
The smart grid is the internet era’s answer to the traditional power grid. It provides secured and dependable electrical service. Unlike the traditional grid infrastructure, it is a two-way communication between the utility and the electricity consumer.
The smart grid has the following elements:
- A modern electrical grid with information technology and communications integrated into it.
- The ability to communicate with, and provide new services for, all electricity customers through a two-way communication link between a utility and its customer base.
- Compatibility with distributed generation resources, technologies that allow consumers to generate power for themselves.
- The ability to send price information and control devices, including the appliances in homes and buildings, through a two-way communication network between end users and power suppliers.
- Adequate levels of protection against all reasonable contingencies.
- Reliability and resiliency to withstand the impacts of a wide range of physical and cyber-attacks.
- Interoperability with the existing generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure (smart grids must be able to work alongside old infrastructure).
- The ability to integrate numerous types of advanced meters capable of two-way communication on the network.
- Reduced outage times and the ability to restore power after any incident in a very short period of time.
- Ability to support applications, such as demand response and advanced distribution grid management systems, capable of providing dynamic incentives and control to system operators.
The smart grid will reduce energy bills
With the smart grid businesses and home owners will be able to increase or decrease their energy usage in real-time based on the current demand for electricity in their area and the current price of electricity through a concept called demand response. This can result in smaller electric bills.
Demand response is a program that allows customers of an electric utility to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours. The smart grid will allow for two-way communication between the customer and the electric utility, which will make this process easier. Customers will be able to receive price information and control devices, including the appliances in their homes and buildings. This will help to save electricity and reduce the load on the power grid.
Appliances, devices and cars will come programmed with the ability manage this dance of price and demand for you. Imagine a dishwasher that waits for electricity rates to drop before it comes on.
The smart grid will support more efficient use of solar power
The smart grid is necessary to support growth in solar energy. Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular, and the smart grid will be necessary to manage the influx of solar power. The smart grid will allow homeowners with rooftop solar panels to have a day-to-day impact on the amount of solar energy they wish to generate. It will also allow those with home solar panels to benefit from supplying electricity into the grid at certain times, and then drawing it back out during peak hours.
The smart grid will help electric utilities reduce power outages
The smart grid has the ability to reduce outage times and restore power after any incident in a very short period of time. This is due to its improved reliability and resilience. A smart grid integrated with smart devices and appliances can rebalance electricity demand and load in real-time. The smart grid is also able to withstand the impacts of a wide range of physical and cyber-attacks, which makes it more secure than the traditional grid.
How long will it be until Texas transitions to a smart grid
Texas is currently in the process of transitioning from a traditional electrical grid to a smart grid. It will transform how to buy electricity as well as how you use it, manage it, and maybe even produce it. There will not be a single moment when the grid goes from traditional to smart. The technology is already enabling innovative products such as prepaid electricity plans.
The grid will constantly be evolving until the transition is complete. The goal of the transition is to make sure that all Texans have access to electricity that is cheap and reliable. It will take place in phases over several years.
The first step in transitioning to a smart grid was laying out what exactly should be included in a smart grid including the ability to support applications, such as demand response and advanced distribution grid management systems, capable of providing dynamic incentives and control to system operators.