Planning for future population growth is essential for utilities to adequately meet higher demand. That's why smart grid technology has become a major goal for electricity providers. Not only are smart grids more economically efficient than the traditional grid system, they allow for easy integration with new technology and renewable energy.
Limitations of Old Power Grids
Back when traditional power grids were developed over a century ago, electricity demand was not as much of a major issue as it is today. People didn't have as many appliances, which were relatively new and less common back then. The power was distributed from the utility to the home without the interaction that smart technology now delivers. Lack of smart technology that monitored processes led to energy and revenue losses at the utility level.
Now that energy demand has dramatically increased, it's important for utilities to allocate resources as efficiently as possible to avoid strain on the traditional grid. Monitoring peak usage times is part of this equation. Making end user statistics available to electricity customers also helps them manage their consumption, as well as detects problems in the system.
Through conventional methods, it was common for consumers to get surprising, and even shocking, high energy bills they didn't expect. That's still true in places not using smart technology. In areas that do have these technologies implemented, however, consumers can access their consumption data from smart meters to take more control of their monthly electric bills.
Data sharing is ultimately the primary key to a modern electric grid system, which helps the supply chain and the end user. Utilities communicate with distribution centers to manage resources, as real-time data from IoT devices helps decision-makers determine current demand. This allows for smoother continuity of electricity without disruptions. Here are other important advantages of smart grid technology solutions:
- Consumers can monitor energy activity from home - Smart metering gives electricity users instant data that allows them to make adjustments to their consumption patterns. Smart meters are designed to integrate with digital screens, displaying on-demand data for each electronic device.
- Renewable energy is cleaner and reduces waste - As sustainability becomes a growing concern in society, smart technology opens the door to integration with solar farms and other sources of renewable energy.
- Better cost-efficiency and planning - Utilities analyze real-time data to calculate demand in different neighborhoods and specific times of the day. Historically, utilities have had to deal with expensive costs at peak times, but smart metering solves this issue.
- Capable of detecting power problems - Power distribution, at times, can be unpredictable due to the aging of power lines and unexpected power shortages. IoT devices immediately pinpoint where inefficiencies and vulnerabilities lie in the system, leading to faster, more efficient maintenance. Smart technology using IoT data also leads to more accurate forecasting of energy demands.
More and more cities are deploying smart grid technology to reduce costs, cut waste and lean in a more environmentally conscious direction. The combination of IoT and renewables are forming strong building blocks for the future of power distribution. The result adds up to lower costs for the consumer as well as the utility.
Check out our technology guide to learn more about how smart technologies empower smart cities.