Brightening the Planet's Future with Smart Grids and Clean Energy
The electric grid—a network of transmission lines, transformers, and substations that deliver electricity from power plants to houses or businesses. What makes a grid “smart”? The advancements in digital technology that allow a two-way communication between the utility and the consumers while sensing activity along the transmission line make the grid smart. With the evolution of the internet, smart grids can digitally control and automate new technologies and equipment to accommodate the rapidly changing electric demand. As the populations strive toward availability, efficiency, and reliability of resources and simultaneously contribute to environmental health, smart grids provide an unprecedented opportunity for using clean energy. The energy from water, wind, and solar sources—clean energy—can be optimized by smart grids and distributed among the users at lower costs. The reduced management and operations cost for utilities also lowers power costs for the consumers. Smart grids offer an efficient transmission and a quicker restoration of electricity during power disturbances.
Smart grids offer improved security and a better integration between customer-owner power generation systems and clean energy systems. An increased integration of clean energy systems on a large scale reduces peak demand for electricity and helps lower electricity rates. In addition to that, smart grids guarantee an unprecedented level of consumer participation by providing tools and information required to bring out better energy usage decisions. As of today, smart grids consist of millions of parts-controls, power lines, computers, new technologies, and equipment. It will take a while for all those technologies to be perfected, tested, and installed before they can be integrated with the clean energy systems. The smart grid will gradually evolve to initiate progress of clean energy made available for the industries to develop and grow. According to a study conducted by the University of California Riverside (UCR), the smart grid is projected to hit the $400 billion mark in the market and save around $100 billion over the next two decades. Along with clean energy, smart grids can be paired as a sustainable practice to transform the future of the planet into a more positive one.