Energy demand has increased as a result of globalization, rising living standards, and technological advancements. This caused an increase in power usage that, if left untreated, might become unmanageable. This is a concerning issue, not just for the provision of renewable energy but also for the global preservation of the ecosystem. Cities use around 75–80% of global energy consumption, accounting for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The power grid is the traditional centralized system of transmission of electrical energy. Traditional power networks are solely concerned with a few fundamental tasks, such as energy production, transmission, and regulation. The current electrical system is unstable, with significant transmission losses, low power quality, a high risk of rolling blackouts, insufficient electricity supply, and many other barriers.
Traditional systems lack tracking and real-time control, opening an opportunity for new innovative smart grid technologies. To address these challenges, the power supply mechanism must be completely overhauled and better energy management systems implemented. The smart grid is a concept in which all smart features are applied in order to make the power distribution service more effective, dependable, and long-lasting.
In this article, we’re going to present an overview of the innovative smart grid technologies that will take over our future. To get started, let’s see what the ‘smart grid’ really means.
The growth of smart grid solutions
A network of electrical conductors, known as the grid, is required for the distribution of electrical power to consumers. Traditional grids transport and distribute electricity, but the innovative smart grid technologies of the future might interact, preserve, and even make decisions based on the situation.
Grid technologies that are now in use serve a basic purpose: they transmit electrical electricity generated at a central power station.
The smart grid is a network that is intelligent and has an automated control and monitoring system. In terms of technology, a smart grid is a concept for traditional grids that incorporates some of the most advanced and automated elements to make them more dependable and sustainable, improving existing energy management systems.
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It also employs digital communications technology to monitor and respond to local variations in use, as well as enabling the network to self-heal after a power outage. Through different smart grid solutions, (applications and technology) the grid then delivers efficient and dependable electricity supply, thereby benefiting both the economy and the environment, fostering innovative smart grid technologies.
According to Techopedia, this is the definition:
“A smart grid is an electricity network based on digital technology that is used to supply electricity to consumers via two-way digital communication. This system allows for monitoring, analysis, control, and communication within the supply chain to help improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and cost, and maximize the transparency and reliability of the energy supply chain. The smart grid was introduced with the aim of overcoming the weaknesses of conventional electrical grids by using smart net meters.”
Smart grids and smart grid solutions fulfill all of the traditional tasks with the extra capability or benefit of remotely monitoring all operations for better and faster reactions and performance. The installation of smart meters is linked to the development of smart grid solutions.
They were employed to relay customer information back to the grid in the 1970s and 1980s. The concept has progressed significantly, and the most recent study suggests that grids and network systems should play a critical role in generating clean and sustainable energy in order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.
Innovative smart grid technologies offer a solution for better electric power generation as well as more efficient generation & distribution. In comparison to standard grids, it is easier to set up and takes up less room because of its flexibility. The smart grid design concept aims to improve grid observability, asset maneuverability, power system maintainability, and particularly the economic elements of operations, repair, and planning.
Where’s the innovative smart grid technologies market today?
According to Research and Markets, the smart grid market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 17.76% to reach $92.107 billion in 2026, from $29.336 billion in 2019. The report states that the advanced metering infrastructure is anticipated to expand significantly over the forecasted period, owing to a rise in the implementation of innovative smart grid technologies around the world.
Smart grid solutions are being recognized by governments in both developing and rising countries as a strategic infrastructure investment that will aid in their long-term economic development and hence, help them meet their carbon emission objectives. In the predicted term, these factors are likely to promote market growth and create possibilities for grid firms developing smart grid technologies and smart grid solutions.
The market is anticipated to rise due to increasing investment in the industry, as well as the deployment of technologies such as smart meters, electric vehicle chargers, and other infrastructure technologies, which are expected to drive market expansion during the coming years.
However, the market for innovative smart grid technologies is being stifled by inadequate access to energy, particularly in developing countries, as well as weak government regulations and attempts to update and expand grid infrastructure.
Innovative Smart grid Technologies that are going to shape the future
Take a look at the innovative smart grid technologies we think will help shape the future of electrical grids.
Energy management systems
A smart energy management system is a computer-based system that monitors, controls, measures, and optimizes energy usage in a building, factory, or any other type of facility. The systems can link electricity-consuming structures, such as HVAC, lighting, and machine tools, with meters, detectors, and other devices that can monitor measures, and integrate information structurally.
Moreover, these devices have the ability to communicate with the utility or the grid operator to time interactions, such as energy purchases during cheaper off-peak hours. Participation in demand-response events, and EV-managed charging stations. This makes improved energy management systems a prime example of smart grid solutions aimed at efficiency.
Advanced metering infrastructure
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system of smart meters, data management systems, and communication networks that allows utilities and consumers to communicate in real-time. It is proving to be a budding smart grid solution and is helping to advance energy management systems overall.
AMI gives electric power providers a two-way communication system from the control center to the meter, as well as the capacity to change various service-level settings for its consumers. The growth of advanced metering infrastructure technology and smart meter installations through various metering programs give distribution grids a tremendous chance to record voltage feedback at termination points.
AMI provides many benefits, including time-based pricing, usage forecasts, remote consumption control, remote integration or disconnection of users, theft identification, etc. Having these features implies being able to better regulate the efficiency and quality of power in grids all around the world.
However, there are a few flaws that concern both customers and utility companies, including privacy and confidentiality concerns, as well as cybersecurity concerns related to unauthorized access to advanced metering infrastructure equipment.
IoT projects: a major innovative smart grid technology
Sensor-enabled IoT devices, appliances, and hubs that operate a smart house or any other connected area provide statistics on energy use. This information is then utilized to evaluate power use, compute costs, manage appliances remotely, make load distribution decisions, and discover problems.
Among the most significant IoT projects based on the grid in power plants, energy distributors, and utilities is predictive maintenance. Operations are built on the utilization of costly equipment and infrastructure. Stakeholders may better oversee their assets, forecast depreciation, failure, and schedule maintenance using innovative smart grid technologies for surveillance and energy grid management.
Machine learning applications are already prevalent in the IoT industry, and the IoT projects in smart energy grids are no exception. Machine learning is well-known for its ability to work with large data sets.
It aids in the better understanding and use of large data, as well as the identification of patterns and the making of forecasts. As a result, analyzing IoT data generated in the smart grid supply chain using advanced algorithms is another approach to improve efficiency.
In Mannheim, Germany, IoT infrastructure and technological solutions were combined to create a smart grid IoT project. This initiative facilitated the widespread adoption of renewable energy and allowed the city to better manage its energy use and production.
Another example of IoT smart grid solutions comes from Cisco. The company, in collaboration with a number of partners, assists various upstream and downstream players in implementing connected technology and improving grid operations.
The modernization of BC Hydro is one of their success stories: using smart metering and sophisticated analytics technology, Cisco assisted the energy provider in increasing efficiency and dependability. These examples really highlight the promise of IoT and underline it as a major innovative smart grid technology.
Demand response (DR) programs are new and growing demand-side management applications (DSM). Case studies include applications that help decrease wholesale energy costs and fluctuations by providing services such as frequency regulation, spinning reserves, and operating reserves, as well as implementations that help improve grid stability.
Demand response applications in grid technology have been facilitated by the creation of energy regulatory bodies with open wholesale markets and governmental backing. From the client's standpoint, there are two types of demand response programs:
Customers change their electricity use in response to time-variant pricing set by their utility agency in order to maximize their power usage and save money on bills, which is known as price-based DR.
Benefits are improved by offering an incentive to influence consumer behavior to modify their demand consumptions in incentive-based DR.
Through the programs stated above, DR allows customers to reduce or shift their power use during peak hours, giving them a significant role in the functioning of electric grids in the hopes of balancing supply and demand requirements. Making DR and innovative smart grid technology.
Electric vehicles (EVs)
EVs are a favored answer to global warming concerns, given the evident modernization of the transportation industry. In terms of innovative smart grid technology, the arrival of plug-in electric cars brings with it a slew of difficulties and opportunities for power grid sustainability and energy management systems. If electric vehicles are introduced to networks as regular loads, there will be little room for load varying flexibility, putting the grid at risk.
Smart grids feature advanced communication, smart metering, and control technology. As a result, they have the potential to provide electric cars as both a load and a flexible energy supply.
Smart meters are critical in addressing the grid's EV-related problems. These smart meters can assist in the implementation of smart scheduling to maximize the available power in the grid since they have bidirectional communication capability and the capacity to monitor real-time data.
EVs may also assist in smart grid sustainability by acting as distributed storage resources (V2G), which help with additional services like frequency control, peak shaving power, and the integration of variable renewable resources. As far as smart grid solutions go, EVs seem to hold the answer to their own electrical grid roadblock.
A huge quantity of data is collected from various sensors, wireless transmission, and connections. All of the data collected from generation to consumption is used by various algorithms to predict and will also aid in completely understanding the pattern of power use. This will eventually be beneficial in the development of a smart energy management system.
Energy big data includes not just data collected from meters, but also a vast quantity of meteorological and environmental data. It also involves ‘4Vs' (volume, velocity, variety, and value) and the ‘3Es,' (energy, exchange, and empathy).
Although various algorithms and models have been developed for the analysis of big data, there are still some major issues such as IT infrastructure, information gathering and management, data processing and analysis, data integration and sharing, and, most importantly, security and privacy. However, big data’s integral role in the grid’s evolution to something bigger and better is why it is one of the top innovative smart grid technologies being developed.
The future for innovative smart grid technologies
The innovative smart grid technologies and smart grid solutions that revolve around sensing and measuring allow for new levels of communication between end-users and power corporations. A power grid with these capabilities can identify and respond to any faults automatically due to real-time monitoring, minimizing interruptions, and maintenance issues.
Extreme weather and natural disasters, such as floods and storms, are becoming more common as a result of global warming, increasing the likelihood of power outages. Innovative smart grid technologies will then become more important in this context, in order to prevent outages by automatically varying and diverting power supply.
While the energy business remains tremendously complicated, the amount of innovative smart grid technologies that are entering this area from the startup environment is fantastic. Hopefully, these newcomers will develop the smart grid solutions needed that will assist local governments and big energy giants in accelerating the adoption and lowering the cost of smart grids, giving us a serious chance to combat climate change.