For decades, power was something the average person did not think much about.
Until it went out. And then it was all you thought about… until it came back. Not any more.
Climate change, rising energy prices and technology advances are all forces that have been reshaping the collective mindset of consumers, turning many from “passive ratepayers” to highly informed, environmentally conscious customers who want a role in using power. And now, with the emergence of the technologies that make smart grids possible, companies can provide their customers with the information and control they need to actually change their behavior patterns and reduce usage and costs.
Entering the digital age
IBM is helping utilities add a layer of digital intelligence to their grids. These smart grids use sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across operations—from power plant to plug. A power company can optimize grid performance, prevent outages, restore outages faster and allow consumers to manage energy usage right down to the individual networked appliance.
“Smart” grids can also incorporate new sustainable energies such as wind and solar generation, and interact locally with distributed power sources, or plug-in electric vehicles.