July 1, 2019
Smart Electrical Grids: Powered By Wireless .
America’s power grid is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of the 20th century with local grids delivering electricity from a power plant to your home. Wirelessly-enabled smart energy innovations can help utilities across the country respond to increasing consumer demand, while protecting against outages and efficiently using resources. In fact, Accenture estimates that across the United States, smart grid benefits could be as high as $2 trillion.
A smart grid is characterized by the two-way flow of electricity and data. Wireless sensors embedded throughout the energy system allow for communication between the plant and different points along the grid. This constant flow of data makes it easy to adjust electricity flows and monitor potential disruptions to the system, like a power outage. And thanks to wireless networks, the sensors don’t have to be physically connected to a central computer to transmit data, creating a more adaptable power system.
Smart grid innovations will bring improvements to our energy systems, including:
Resiliency in an emergency
Smart grids can help address disruptions in the power supply, often caused by weather emergencies. When sensors identify an outage, they automatically reroute power flows around the outage instead of requiring human action to change the flow of electricity. Wireless sensors can also isolate a small piece of the system to contain problems instead of shutting down the entire grid to identify a problem or make a repair. This flexibility helps keep power on, for example, in the midst of a storm.
Better resource efficiency
Smart sensors combined with real-time usage data will provide utilities with granular information for more efficient loading, opportunities for dynamic pricing and more efficient meter readings. Smart sensors’ ability to collect and react to data in real time will also be particularly useful for managing solar, wind and other renewable energies that rely on predicting and responding to favorable weather conditions.
Lowering your bills
Smart grids allow consumers to keep eyes on their own consumption costs. Consumers can take these benefits one step further by installing smart home appliances that leverage machine learning techniques to monitor and adjust their energy usage. Utilities will also be able to use data from connected devices and systems to adjust changes in demand and supply in real time and better forecast energy needs.
Beyond the grid itself, 5G will also power drone deployment on a larger scale. Energy and power companies will deploy drones to inspect their energy sources, grids, and other assets. Using drones to conduct these inspections will not only improve safety for workers, but they are also estimated to cost 80% less than traditional reviews.
5G’s fast speeds, low latency, high capacity and advanced security will have a huge impact in the IoT space, including through the development of advanced energy technologies. Applying these smart technologies to today’s grids will make them more flexible, resilient and ready to power our tomorrow.
Smart Cities Working Group
Towns and cities are leveraging wireless connectivity to improve their communities.