What Is A Smart Grid Information Technology Essay


This paper first gives a brief idea about Use of Solar & other Alternative Energy Sources for smart grid. This paper first gives an idea behind grid & smart grid. It also includes characteristics of smart grid, history of smart grid, smart grid function & types of technology in use for smart grid. It also includes idea about smart energy meters, moreover it also shows about governmental policies regarding smart meter. This paper also gives a brief idea regarding future scope of smart grid in India. Which shows why India needs smart grid? It also includes goal, scope & advantages of smart grid over normal grid.

What is a Smart Grid?

An energy grid that uses advance digital technologies, which will increase the energy reliability, save energy and cost, and will allow greater consumer participation. The grid will change from its present centralized model to decentralized model in which consumer can be energy receiver, supplier, and producer. Smart Grid is an umbrella term, which is used for combination of technologies, approaches, and processes. According to Department of Energy (DOE), USA, the grid will have following characteristics: –

characteristics of a smart grid:

“Informed, involved, and active consumers – demand response and distributed energy resources.”

“Many distributed energy resources with plug-and-play convenience focus on renewable”

“Mature, well-integrated wholesale markets, growth of new electricity markets for consumers”

“Power quality is a priority with a variety of quality/price options – rapid resolution of issues”

“Greatly expanded data acquisition of grid parameters – focus on prevention, minimizing impact to consumers”

“Automatically detects and responds to problems – focus on prevention, minimizing impact to consumer”

“Resilient to attack and natural disasters with rapid restoration capabilities”.  

Smart Grid Functions

Before examining particular technologies, a proposal can be understood in terms of what it is being required to do. The governments and utilities funding development of grid modernization have defined the functions required for smart grids.

Motivate consumers to actively participate in operations of the grid

Resist attack

Provide higher quality power that will save money wasted from outages

Accommodate all generation and storage options

Enable electricity markets to flourish

Run more efficiently


Existing and planned implementations of smart grids provide a wide range of features to perform the required functions.

Load adjustment

The total load connected to the power grid can vary significantly over time. Although the total load is the sum of many individual choices of the clients, the overall load is not a stable, slow varying, average power consumption. Imagine the increment of the load if a popular television program starts and millions of televisions will draw current instantly. Traditionally, to respond to a rapid increase in power consumption, faster than the start-up time of a large generator, some spare generators are put on a dissipative standby mode. A smart grid may warn all individual television sets, or another larger customer, to reduce the load temporarily (to allow time to start up a larger generator) or continuously (in the case of limited resources). Using mathematical prediction algorithms it is possible to predict how many standby generators need to be used, to reach a certain failure rate. In the traditional grid, the failure rate can only be reduced at the cost of more standby generators. In a smart grid, the load reduction by even a small portion of the clients may eliminate the problem.

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Demand response support

Demand response support allows generators and loads to interact in an automated fashion in real time, coordinating demand to flatten spikes. Eliminating the fraction of demand that occurs in these spikes eliminates the cost of adding reserve generators, cuts wear & tear and extends the life of equipment, and allows users to cut their energy bills by telling low priority devices to use energy only when it is cheapest.

Greater resilience to loading

Although multiple routes are touted as a feature of the smart grid, the old grid also featured multiple routes. Initial power lines in the grid were built using a radial model, later connectivity was guaranteed via multiple routes, referred to as a network structure. However, this created a new problem: if the current flow or related effects across the network exceed the limits of any particular network element, it could fail, and the current would be shunted to other network elements, which eventually may fail also, causing a domino effect.

Decentralization of power generation

Another element of fault tolerance of smart grids is decentralized power generation. Distributed generation allows individual consumers to generate power onsite, using whatever generation method they find appropriate. This allows individual loads to tailor their generation directly to their load, making them independent from grid power failures. Classic grids were designed for one-way flow of electricity, but if a local sub-network generates more power than it is consuming, the reverse flow can raise safety and reliability issues. A smart grid can manage these situations.

off-peak time the price is reduced significantly, primarily for heating storage radiators or heat pumps with a high thermal mass, but also for domestic appliances. This idea will be further explored in a smart grid, where the price could be changing in seconds and electric equipment is given methods to react on that. Also, personal

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Price signaling to consumers

In many countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, the electric utilities have installed double electricity meter in many homes to encourage people to use their electric power during night time or weekends, when the overall demand from industry is very low. During preferences of customers, for example to use only green energy, can be incorporated in such a power grid.

Above diagram shows the working difference between Normal Grid and Smart Grid.

The bulk of smart grid technologies are already used in other applications such as


Manufacturing and Telecommunications and are being adapted for use in grid operations. In general, smart grid technology can be grouped into five key areas:

Integrated communications

Some communications are up to date, but are not uniform because they have been developed in an incremental fashion and not fully integrated. In most cases, data is being collected via modem rather than direct network connection. Areas for improvement include: substation automation, demand response, distribution automation, supervisory control and data acquisition .energy management systems, wireless mesh networks and other technologies, power-line carrier communications, and fiber-optics. Integrated communications will allow for real-time control, information and data exchange to optimize system reliability, asset utilization, and security.

Sensing and measurement

Core duties are evaluating congestion and grid stability, monitoring equipment health, energy theft prevention, and control strategies support. Technologies include: advanced microprocessor meters (smart meter) and meter reading equipment, wide-area monitoring systems, dynamic line rating (typically based on online readings by distributed temperature sensing combined with real time thermal rating systems), electromagnetic signature measurement/analysis, time-of-use and real-time pricing tools, advanced switches and cables, backscatter radio technology, and digital relays.

Smart meters

A smart grid replaces analog mechanical meters with digital meters that record

Usage in real time. Smart meters are similar to advanced meters and provide a communication path extending from generation plants to electrical outlets and other smart grid-enabled devices. By customer option, such devices can shut down during times of peak demand.

High speed sensors called PMUs distributed throughout their network can be used to monitor

Phasor measurement units

Power quality and in some cases respond automatically to them. Phasors are representations of the waveforms of alternating current, which ideally in real-time, are identical everywhere on the network and conform to the most desirable shape.

Why India needs a Smarter Grid 

With such enormous deficiencies in basic infrastructure, why would India want to consider investing in smart grid technologies? Ultimately for India to continue along its path of aggressive economic growth, it needs to build a modern, intelligent grid. It is only with a reliable, financially secure Smart Grid that India can provide a stable environment for investments in electric infrastructure, a prerequisite to fixing the fundamental problems with the grid. Without this, India will not be able to keep pace with the growing electricity needs of its cornerstone industries, and will fail to create an environment for growth of its high tech and telecommunications sectors.

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Recent grid developments

The Indian National Government, in cooperation with the State Energy Board, put forward a road to improvement when it announced the new Electricity Act of 2003, aimed at reforming electricity laws and bringing back foreign investment. The act had several important measures:

Unbundling the State Electricity Board’s assets into separate entities for generation, transmission, and distribution, with the intention of eventual privatization

Adding capacity in support of a projected energy use growth rate of  12%, coinciding with a GDP growth rate of roughly 8%

·         improving metering efficiency

·         auditing to create transparency and accountability at the state level

·         Improved billing and collection

·         Mandating minimum amounts of electricity from renewable

·         requiring preferential tariff rates for renewable

·         End use efficiency to reduce the cost of electricity

There has been a recent push in India to begin labeling appliances with energy use to help consumers determine operating costs. There has also been significant effort to improve energy efficiency, for example to increase the average energy efficiency of power plants up from 30% to 40%, and pushing major industries to reduce energy consumption.

. This neglect has accumulated in a variety of system failures:

·         poorly planned distribution networks

·         overloading of system components

India has problems not unlike other developing countries

India’s grid is in need of major improvements

·         Lack of reactive power support and regulation services

·         Low metering efficiency and bill collection

·         Power theft while the national government’s ambitious “Power for All” plan calls for the addition of over 1 TW of additional capacity by 2012, it faces the challenge of overcoming a history of poor power quality, capacity shortfalls and frequent blackouts.


From the above method discussed, it is high need for any country to go for green power like Solar; Wind Etc. Smart Grid is the right solution for meeting the rise of power demand.

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