Smart grid is a collection of energy control and monitoring devices, software, networking, and communications infrastructure that are installed throughout the electricity distribution grid to allow two-way communication between customer and electricity provider.
- Similar to an internet for energy.
- Other technologies include smart thermostats, smart appliances, energy management systems, dynamic lighting controls, and electric vehicles.
- Provides the ability to monitor and control energy consumption in real time through in‐home display devices; a customer can program house to specific needs.
- Gives consumers the ability to use electricity when it is cheapest.
- Provides the incentive to shift use to off-peak, thereby reducing peak demand and potentially lowering electricity bills.
- Provides the ability to forecast energy needs more effectively during peak times and improve overall efficiency.
- Reduces the need to build expensive peak generators.
Smart Grid Compliments Renewable Energy
If the wind suddenly stops blowing, or the sun stops shining, a reduction in electricity supply will occur. Instead of increasing natural gas turbines designed for quick dispatch, a utility can cycle through blocks of customers at 5-10 minute intervals to reduce demand.
- Example: Shut off air conditioning for 5 minute blocks, but shuffle through customer base, so the actual house temperature doesn’t drop.
- Customers that agree to allow the utility to remotely shut down certain smart appliances during energy spikes are compensated, even if the appliances are not in use.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G)
- Provide an outlet for wind energy that blows primarily at night, when peak is down.
- Cars can be hooked into the grid and upload electricity at peak times.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) can also be used to provide backup power during blackouts
Building to Grid (B2G)
- Interactions will create new business models outside buildings, allowing energy trading between buildings.
- Developing communication standards between building and grid will make the economic consequences of each operating decision visible.
- These communications will be critical to the development of Net Zero Energy (NZE) buildings.
Demand Response is an energy management technique used today that would be facilitated by a Smart Grid.
- Example: If a state suddenly experienced a drop in wind‐energy production from 1,700 MW to 300 MW, within ten minutes, grid operators would be able to deploy 1,100 MW of demand response from electricity customers.
A recent report by the American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) about efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy resources in a leading wind state found that these resources collectively could meet 107% of the projected growth in summer peak demand by 2013 and yield utility bill savings of $73 billion or more over the next 15 years.
U.S. DOE Office of Electricty Delivery & Energy Reliability
Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition