Smart power grid demands innovative design

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

As electric utility companies grapple with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the increasing costs and lead-times for introducing new generating capacity they are turning to the concept of the smart grid.  One of the core elements of the smart grid is the smart power meter that communicates with both the energy supplier and the cons

Smart power grid demands innovative design
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umer to provide real-time information on energy consumption and cost. The energy supplier`s biggest headache is catering for the peak loading on their electric network. Peak loads can be related to user demand, such as air conditioners in hot weather, or may be the result of equipment outages. The smart grid`s aim is to reduce the impact of peak loading both by changing user behavior and by directly controlling the consumer`s equipment. By leveling out the network load, utilities can more efficiently manage their generating and transmission capacity, saving cost and reducing emissions. Deploying the smart grid should provide equitably priced electricity for all customers through enhanced security, quality, reliability, and availability of power. Smart meters communicating with a smart network will allow the utility to implement a variety of control and incentive programs, such as real-time variable pricing. With features like in-home energy displays or eco-panels,  the consumer can be warned when a peak loading rate is being charged. They can then make an informed choice to switch off appliances such as dryers and postpone their use until a lower rate is available. With smart appliances or Demand Response Units (DRUs) controlling appliances in the home, the rescheduling of high consumption functions can be controlled directly by the utility via the smart meter. The smart grid is no empty promise it is coming now and the...

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