The electrical grid in the United States experiences more blackouts than that of any other developed nation. Much of the physical equipment on the grids has aged to the point of obsolescence. And most industry experts would agree that the American utility industry has reached a critical point. And update in the infrastructure is the need of the hour.
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At the same time, utilities are also experiencing a transformation to their business models. Green energy sources, referred to as Distributed Energy Resources, are turning the centralized power generation and distribution model inside out.
A ‘smart grid’ offers us a SMART alternative. A Smart grid can recognize, circumvent and even prevent problems before they occur. Ultimately, smart infrastructure will improve the reliability and resiliency of the power grid.
The smart grid offers benefits to utility companies, such as detection of energy theft or loss, outage management, an efficient balance between energy demand and supply and improved demand response. This becomes even more critical as we integrate renewable energy in the grid, Renewable energy resources are known to be more unreliable in the sense that a steady output 24*7 cannot be expected and change in wind speed, solar radiation needs to be factored in planning energy Management.
Utilities will benefit through better asset utilization and power management by seeing real-time demand spikes and potential grid failures. The result is that the companies can prevent blackouts before they occur and optimize power generation based on actual demand.
The benefit of SMART GRIDs to Consumers
Smart Grid will interface with and also benefit consumers via Smart Meters and Home Area Networks (HAN). HAN’s. Consumers will be able to see near real-time energy use information and also take advantage of ‘time-of-use’ pricing. For example, appliances that consume a lot of energy such as washers and dryers and water heaters can automatically be set to operate during low-cost periods, reducing the cost to the consumer. This places control in the hands of the consumer.
Distributed energy resources, demand/response digital customer connections, net metering and the Internet of Things are all here to stay. Business models have to adjust to survive in this rapidly evolving landscape. That’s exactly why utilities are among the leaders in IoT adoption. At Pratiti we help Utilities and product technology supplier circumvent problems associated with this technology adoption.