What is smart grid technology?
A smart grid is an electrical grid that utilizes a digital communication network and modern technology, such as sensors and automatic control systems, to manage, monitor real-time power flow and enhance its efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.
Smart grid is used to upgrade the conventional electrical networks that previously operated on-site, such as when the power cut off and electrical providers had to manually discover the fault location and trip/close switchgear with no information on the currents or voltage, etc. Smart grid technology provides long-term power dependability, increases efficiency by eliminating energy loss, boosts customer confidence, and attracts foreign investors when the electricity is reliable. In addition, smart grid technology aids in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, hence reducing global warming.
What are the key benefits of smart grid technology for energy providers?
Smart Grid is crucial for power supply institutions since it is a technology that improves the efficiency of power delivery to customers while ensuring energy stability, i.e. no frequent power outages, hence greatly boosting the institution's revenue.
Here are the benefits for power supply companies when their distribution network is equipped with Smart Grid technology.
1. Technical benefits
Monitoring and Control – The technical team can monitor the load, such as current, voltage, and bias of each phase, monitor data from the energy metering, and remotely trip or close switchgear.
Real-time Alarm Notification – When there is an electrical trip or a power outage due to power sources being cut off, broken branches fall on the distribution line, resulting in a power interruption.
Report and Analysis – It is the most important point for the electricity supplier because it is where the system gather information about its network and where problems need to be addressed.
Safe Operation – Direct operations often faces with numerous threats due to working with medium voltage currents. Therefore, direct and frequent operations are no longer required when the network is equipped with Smart Grid technology. Simply being in the control room enables you to manage and solve problems.
Preventive Maintenance – Smart Grid can extend the lifespan of electrical equipment by detecting and identifying overloads and issues on all equipment, making it easier to plan preventive maintenance in advance.
Upskill of Technical Engineers – In order to manage the distribution line more efficiently, each technician must study more in order to take full advantage of this smart grid technology.
2. Business Benefit
Reduce OPEX/CAPEX – Such as traveling to find the fault and needing a few teams that must pay for fuel, labor, and so on. In terms of OPEX (operating expenses), a power outage, for example, costs $500 per operation. How much does a monthly power outage cost? Plus, reduce CAPEX (capital expenditure) costs such as equipment or electrical equipment purchases to prepare for the acquisition of many vehicles for operation to detect the problem. All of this Smart Gird Technology no longer requires such a high cost.
Reduce Power Loss – Unknowingly, current leakage and long-term power outages due to fault location are far away. As a result of the late restoration, business owners lost revenue from selling electrical power to customers. Smart Grid technology helps transmit information about current leakage to the control room on time without allowing the current to be lost. In addition, when there’s a power outage, Smart Grid technology immediately sends fault information to the control room (fault detector), minimizes the size of the impacted area (fault isolation), and solves the problem only in the fault area (fault restoration). As a result, the power outage is not as severe and does not last as long.
Independent on Business – When he has complete control of the power distribution network, he may plan the business independently. The business owner will understand exactly how his network is performing, what is lacking, and what has to be addressed.
Business Expansion Plan – Once the power supply institution has control of his distribution network, he can plan to further expand his business investment.
3. Benefit to the society
Increase More Investors – Investors will be interested in establishing manufacturers or factories that consume a lot of electricity, mostly because it is seen that the country's electrical supply is stable with few power outages.
Customer Satisfaction – Consumers in this context refer to electrical users in households, small and large businesses, factories, and industries that require energy to operate. They will be overjoyed and may have to increase production due to the consistent power supply.
Mitigate Climate Change – Most of the electricity we use today is generated by coal or black oil, which emits harmful gases into the environment and contributes to global warming. As a result, the implementation of smart grid technology enhances supply efficiency by minimizing power waste and reducing leakage current during distribution to consumers. As a result, the use of coal or black oil is decreasing.
Overall, we can see that smart grid technology gives numerous benefits to power supply institutions, such as increasing supply efficiency, instantly evaluating and monitoring the power distribution network, and increasing power stability by preventing power loss due to power outages or leakages. On top of that, smart grid technology increases consumer confidence by lowering unnecessary operating costs and prices, as well as contributing to lower emissions.