Counted among the most important innovations of the 20th century, Smart Grid Technology is used to prevent wastage, tampering and misuse of electricity. Here communication technology plays a vital role, computer, microprocessors, micro-controllers etc are used to control the supply and distribution of electricity.
Much in the way that a “smart” phone these days means a phone with a computer in it, smart grid means “computerizing” the electric utility grid. It includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid. Each device on the network can be given sensors to gather data (power meters, voltage sensors, fault detectors, etc.), plus two-way digital communication between the device in the field and the utility’s network operations center. A key feature of the smart grid is automation technology that lets the utility adjust and control each individual device or millions of devices from a central location
Benefits of Smart Grid Technology:
1. Real-time pricing of electric power according to its demand. This is in contrast with today’s grid where the cost of electricity does not vary with load. The electric meter at home will be transformed to a smart meter capable of communicating with the utility company and updating the price of power on a regular basis. Then, product companies can design intelligent appliances that adjust their behaviour according to the price of electricity reported by the smart meter
2. Going green: electricity cannot be efficiently stored for future use and must be consumed as soon as it is produced. The smart grid offers incentives to consumers to install solar panels or windmills at home and sell excess power to the utility companies, thereby allowing the consumer to become a producer of electricity.
Faulty meters, pilferage: antiquated grid is poorly managed and suffers from 30 per cent losses during transmission and distribution (T&D). In comparison, the U.S. experiences T&D losses of 7 per cent. The losses in India are mostly ascribed to faulty meters and pilferage of electricity.