Smart grid technologies consist of a group of modernized electric utility systems that integrate computerized, automated, and remotely controlled capabilities. Using tried and true computer technologies that have seen widespread adoption in other industries, smart grid technologies have the potential to increase energy efficiency throughout the electrical grid, from power plants to end users.
Examples of smart grid technologies include hardware set up to communicate digitally with a central control facility. Sensors combined with automation enable utilities to monitor and adjust devices remotely. This makes it possible for the utility to examine usage, detect broken equipment, control voltages, and carry out many other functions in a more efficient manner. These technologies also promise to harden the grid against cyber-attacks and respond more effectively to the volatile output of energy sources such as wind and solar power to take advantage of their capabilities and mitigate their disadvantages.
About the Author
Daniel Sheflin has served as vice president of technology automation control solutions at Minnesota technology giant Honeywell for over 12 years. A former manager at General Electric, Daniel Sheflin takes a keen interest in smart grid technologies and served as chairman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Smart Grid Federal Advisory Committee.