What is a Smart Grid?

Power lines with a lightly cloud sky in the background and graph lines indicating power levels overlaying

Nowadays, most of the world has access to a large-scale electricity grid, but many places haven’t been maintaining and upgrading their grid infrastructure.

Last year, the independent Texas power grid failed dramatically when the state experienced abnormally cold weather and then again faced a crisis during a record heat wave this summer. Both the extra strain from people huddling around their heaters and air conditioners, as well as poorly planned and out-of-date power plants, were crucial factors in this dramatic failure.

These events and many others show that, while electricity is a fundamental part of basic safety and security, securing its supply doesn’t necessarily get the respect and care it deserves.

As the consequences of this neglect come to a head, there is a greater demand for more reliable and modernized energy systems. Fortunately, smart grid technology has been waiting for an opportunity to shine.

So, what makes a grid smart?

What is a smart grid?

A smart grid is an automated electrical grid with communication and IT systems that can monitor power flows from every energy asset to each connected piece of equipment and can make real-time adjustments between generation and load.

There are a few key components to setting up and running smart grid infrastructure effectively. First, a smart grid requires smart metering sensors integrated into both the energy-producing and energy-consuming assets.

Along with smart meters, smart grid solutions also need remote monitoring solutions that allow for full control over energy-producing assets. This lets utility companies isolate malfunctions and reduce the burden on overloaded sites in situations that would otherwise create a widespread blackout,

Once the asset control, data collection, and transmission mechanisms are established, it’s time to implement smart energy management. By combining trend tracking, data analysis, and generally increased visibility, companies can help optimize smart grid energy and set parameters for the system.

All of these elements together facilitate a channel between providers and customers that enables greater control, efficiency, and responsiveness of the energy network.

Why are smart grids so important?

Energy costs are rising, shortages are becoming more common, and the world’s transition towards renewable, clean energy and technologies remains relatively stagnant. One of the most direct ways to jumpstart this process is to begin from the ground up with the electric grid. The importance of digitizing the grid and energy assets cannot be understated and can be broken down into a collection of primary benefits.

Improving reliability

The world’s growing population and increasing reliance on electricity mean that, despite advancements in the energy efficiency of new technology, there is a growing burden on our power supplies. To ensure our standard of living and profit margins exist for future generations, we must make the most out of our expanding power capacity by maximizing efficiency.

Harnessing renewables

In addition, climate change is creating a need for better resistance to extreme temperatures and weather. The unpredictability of the impacts is wreaking havoc in all sorts of ways, and it’s important to increase the resilience of both the customer and utility end of energy systems. Renewable resources have the potential to maintain or improve the availability of electricity while minimizing the environmental costs that threaten to spiral out of control.

Generating data

Making a grid more intelligent means getting access to an abundance of data. Galooli alone collects over 3 billion data points every day. Moreover, a truly smart grid will include some capacity for analysis that helps increase energy efficiency and identify problems before they trigger major malfunctions.

Managing complexity

Grids involve a wide array of machines and units, all relying on effective management of the energy distribution system. The more data is collected and analyzed, the more factors come under the control of that management. Smart grid solutions take that vast array of components and organize, prioritize, and simplify the process of managing those connections.

Reducing operational costs

Fostering greater control and understanding of the energy system naturally leads to reduced costs from all angles. The world has already invested at least 250 billion USD in its energy networks, and that number continues to grow. In order to get the most out of that investment, smart grids let users track energy expenses at peak times and adjust their own behavior accordingly, while utilities can reduce their maintenance costs with predictive analysis and fewer site visits.

Galooli’s role in smart grid management

In order to get the most out of your intelligent assets working with the grid, you need effective data collection, accessible KPIs, and the best analysis around. Galooli’s solution helps optimize your supplemental energy systems and accomplishes each of these goals with unprecedented excellence.

With broadly compatible agnostic integration and an abundance of possible configurations, Galooli’s software can serve as the link between you and your energy usage. Beyond grid monitoring, there’s battery tracking, generator performance analysis, and more, Galooli leads the way in making the most of your energy management.

Recommended Posts