Electricity is the lifeblood of our digital world. Access to reliable, safe and renewable energy can impact entire economies and there is extensive research showing the substantial economic losses caused by power outages. This is one of the key reasons why smart grid technology is being deployed by power utilities around the world—improve energy security and grid reliability and keep our digital world running. Smart Grids are also giving us a glimpse into the much talked about Internet of Things (IoT). Power utilities are demonstrating the critical role of resilient communication networks that enable millions of devices to talk with one another. IoT is often defined as connecting any object with an IP address and some intelligence to any other object over the communications network.
More information so you can control and stabilize your electric bills. Faster restoration of power outages. More cost-efficient production and delivery of electricity to our homes, schools and businesses. More renewable energy. This is what Maui Electric Co. is proposing through our smart grid project that will upgrade and further modernize the existing electrical systems on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.To help address the misleading May 10 Viewpoint, a smart grid computerizes the electrical system through a protected, private wireless communication network – not the open internet – and safe smart meters.
The smart grid promises to help create a more efficient, cleaner world with more agile networks that suffer fewer power outages and shorter restoration times. And mobile will play an increasingly larger role, from providing basic cellular connectivity to proprietary networks designed specifically for the IoT to wireless sensors that can glean staggering amounts of data.
Policymakers across the country are wrestling with the economic impact of aging energy infrastructure. America’s energy grid lags behind other developed nations, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, “power quality issues are estimated to cost American business more than $100 billion on average every year.”In New York, the state’s electric grid is in dire need of repair. Estimates are that it will take $30 billion over the next ten years to maintain the state’s existing electric system – and that’s just to cover currently projected energy demands. If we don’t invest in much-needed capital improvements, blackouts and power outages will occur with increasing frequency.
Ameren Illinois is working to keep up with a three-year-old grid modernization act in the state. The utility said their customers have been experiencing fewer and shorter power outages due to the upgrades — and saving customers $48 million each year.
New York is no stranger to the need for resilient, efficient power systems that withstand the wrath of Mother Nature. The increase in severe weather over the past several years has made it necessary for vulnerable regions across the state to find better ways to prepare and protect infrastructure from power outages. Every region of the state is studying the feasibility of installing a community microgrid, thanks to NY Prize Microgrid Competition funds awarded to 83 communities.
Tony Rooney, Managing Director of S&C Electric EMEA, discusses how grid radio technology ensures disruption to the end-user is kept to a minimum and how it helps Distribution Network Operators reduce their chances of receiving huge financial penalties as a result of power outages.Worldwide revenue from Smart Grid Technologies is expected to reach £45 billion annually by 2023. As electricity networks evolve around the world, grid communication technologies will play an integral role to ensure networks operate seamlessly and power outages are kept to a minimum.
Back in 2009, Texas utility CenterPoint Energy landed a $200 million Department of Energy stimulus grant to carry out a $750 million smart grid project, one of the biggest in the country. It started with 2.3 million smart meters capable of detecting power outages and helping field crews and customers know how quickly they could be fixed, and added some 750 “Intelligent Grid” devices to reroute power across storm-damaged distribution circuits in seconds. Finally, it has connected it all with a high-speed wireless network and an underlying advanced distribution management software (ADMS) platform, one that’s collecting and analyzing data for utility departments from field crews to financial planners.
When EPB embarked on its smart grid upgrade, the utility may or may not have anticipated the benefits that were to come beyond more reliable, cheaper electric service and ultra-fast Internet for the 169,000-plus residences and businesses in its service area.
Danna Bailey, EPB’s VP for corporate communications, explained its smart grid reach during a Chamber of Commerce meeting recently. She commented that estimates indicate the annual cost of power outages is roughly $80 billion, and added that those costs could reach $100 million in EPB’s territory alone, according to a Northwest Georgia News article.
The California Energy Commission recently awarded San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) a nearly $5 million grant to expand the innovative Borrego Springs microgrid. The grant will allow the microgrid to use the nearby 26-megawatt Borrego Solar facility to power the entire community, making this one of the nation’s largest microgrids that can operate solely on renewable energy. In addition to bringing in more clean power, the funding will be used to increase the size of the microgrid to service all of Borrego Springs, further enhancing local reliability and reducing the duration of power outages.