How utility sectors can prepare for the next-generation smart grid?

How utility sectors can prepare for the next-generation smart grid?

Energy CIO Insights | Friday, December 07, 2018

A smart grid can be defined as a smart electrical network that combines electrical network and smart digital communication. They act as self-sufficient electricity network system with monitoring of digital automation technology. It is capable of providing electrical power from multiple sources, that is from wind turbines, solar power systems and from hybrid electric vehicles. The wide range of technologies is implemented to develop a modernized smart grid.

The following are the requirements for a smart grid:

1. Intelligent appliances with temperature sensors should be installed as in thermal stations.

2. Smart meters enabling two-way communication between power providers and the consumers which help in automate billing data collection, failure detection of the device and dispatching repair crews to the exact location.

3. Smart substations should be included for monitoring power status, breaker, security, transformer status, etc. Substations are used to transform voltage for providing safe and reliable delivery of energy. Smart substations enable splitting the path of electricity flow. Substations comprise transformers, switches, capacitor banks, circuit breakers, a network protected relays and several others.

4. Super conducting cables are used for long distance power transmission.

5. Fast integrated communication is a real-time needs of the system. The key consideration of an integrated communication should be data carrying capacity, network coverage capability, latency, ease of deployment, and secure.

With the introduction of smart grids, the profile of jobs in utility sectors is also changing. The demanded skill is beyond traditional utility occupations.

New requirements for smart grids installers include knowledge of the eco-energy market, measurement and smart grid management, understanding of risks associated with smart grid management, risk assessment and management, effective selection, installing and operating smart meters, and knowledge on measuring energy consumption.

Even though smart grids mark a radical transformation in utility sectors, there are concerns about security in the smart grid system. Some types of smart meters used can easily be hacked thus losing control over the power supply.

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