2 Way Dialog
One of the main improvements that the smart grid will have over the current national grid system is the introduction of a 2-way digital dialog system. This introduces intelligence, automation and control into the electrical grid. It enables not only the transmission of electricity from grid to home, but also the integration of an intelligent communications network.
So unlike today’s National Grid, which just allows electricity to be delivered into the home, the introduction of this 2-way dialog as part of the Smart Grid enables real-time energy usage data to be sent from the home back to the energy suppliers. This allows instant meter readings so actual usage can be billed without the need to send someone out to read the meter.
This 2-way dialog increases the potential for consumers to interact more with their energy consumption, helping to reduce peak demand and therefore lowering carbon emissions within the grid.
Real time control
Through the use of the digital communications technology that the Smart Grid uses, real-time control can be implemented. Both the utility companies and consumers are able to see and monitor electrical usage as it occurs. This real-time control increases the reliability, efficiency and speed of the grid. It also allows for TOUT (time of use tariffs), which aims to time-shift the demand, resulting in more evenly distributed electrical usage, so new expensive generating capacity doesn’t need to be built since peak demand will actually fall.
Ability to identify issues within grid
Currently, once an area loses power, the grid only gets informed once a customer complains about a lack of electricity. This can therefore lead to a long process of repairs, especially if the problem occurs in the middle of the night and no one contacts the utility company until the morning.
With the introduction of the smart grid, when an area is affected by unforeseen circumstances that causes it to lose power, electricity will automatically be redirected via an alternative route ensuring there is no impact on the customer. This self-healing power of the smart grid, enables rapid fixes and allows for a more reliable, efficient electrical grid.
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