ENVIRON 157 Chapter Notes - Chapter N/A: Power-System Automation, Home Network
Course CodeENVIRON 157
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PUB POL Week 11 Reading 3
In principle, “Smart Grid” is an upgrade to modernize an electrical power grid. In basic terms “Smart
Grid” refers to using advanced control and equipment technologies and integrating digital processing
and communications to the electrical production, transmission, distribution and consumption parts of
the power grid.
Smart Grid modifications add continuous, real-time two-way communications and monitoring to the
vast electrical grid network, to immediately adjust to anomalies and power demands and loads.
However, without the advanced controls and two-way communications of Smart Grid, many utilities do
not know when a power outage has occurred. Odd as it may seem, in our high tech world of
computerized detectors and gadgets, utilities still depend on consumers to alert them of many system
problems. Most of the 500,000 miles of the nation’s massive electrical transmission grid have not been
upgraded since its construction in the 1960s and 70s.
The bottom line though, is that many parts of the U.S. electrical grid are antiquated. Smart Grid
technology is an upgrade to the current system, designed to address current energy needs and ensure
Reliability. Overhauling aging equipment to provide enhanced reliability for consumers.
• Efficiency. If the grid were just 5% more efficient, energy savings would equate to permanently
eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.*
• Conservation. Prolonging the life of the existing grid, thereby saving the cost of constructing new
power and transmission systems.
• Responsiveness. Rapid diagnosis of and precise solutions to specific grid disruptions or outages. Power
system automation can decrease brownouts, blackouts and power surges that can damage computers,
TVs and audio equipment.
Adaptability. Allowing the integration and storage of energy from diverse and geographically scattered
renewable power sources like wind farms and solar systems.
• Security. Protection from grid cyber-attacks.
• Energy Management. Smart Grid features allow consumers to monitor and adjust their energy usage.
By using smart meters to schedule energy-intensive tasks during low demand periods, consumers may
save on electric bills.
Depending on your interest, utility and type of home power meter, a Home Area Network consisting of
several smart outlets and an in-home display lets you monitor and control everyday energy use and
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