To say that smart grids are smart would be the biggest understatement of the decade. As the world is seeking improvements in energy consumptions, America is still as always one step ahead by taking smart grids to a new level.
The transition for America to turn a new leaf and enter a newer, more innovative and advanced system for consuming energy has already begun. Of the $787 billion dollars set aside in the stimulus package by President Obama, $11 billion of that is to be put into creating a national modern electricity grid that’ll provide American consumers with better information on energy consumptions as well as increased control over their power usage. Rising companies such as Smart Grid and National Grid have claimed to have the new generation of smart grids that’ll provide customers with improved energy use information, automation, and savings as well as an unprecedented amount of choice and control over how they use energy. Implementing smart grid technology also will enhance the reliability of the electric system, as reported by Fox Business.
A smart grid is pretty much a network for electricity transmission and distribution systems that uses two-way, state-of-the-art communications, advanced sensors, and specialized computers to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of electricity delivery and use. Smart grids also provide environmental benefits by helping to reduce energy use during peak hours and facilitating the connection and addition of distributed generation facilities and renewable resources to the grid.
Robert Howard, vice president of gas transmission and distribution at Pacific Gas & Electric, states, “With a smarter two-way communications mechanism between a power consumer and provider, both parties get far more control over consumption.” An example of smart grids in action, as done by PG&E is when energy could be drawn from the 15,000 solar installations in an area’s regions rather than firing up an auxiliary power plant in the middle of a hot day – significantly safer and more efficient.
One customer’s, Val Peterson’s, personal experience has been quite great. High-tech gadgets make Peterson’s home so efficient that they are not just using less power, sometimes they save so much power that excess power is stored in the house, charging the batteries in their car and supplying them with about two days’ worth of backup power. Since they started the program, Mr. Peterson has been able to produce 590.7 fewer pounds of carbon, as measured by the smart grid meter. Multiply that by 50,000 customers, the number currently expected to install the system, and it can make a huge impact! Another customer nearby made his home so efficient that his utility bill nearly vanished. “Our monthly bill was $3,” the customer said. Three dollars for a monthly electric bill! Unfortunately, smart grids are still under testing, as only a few cities have made the transition. The numbers are expected to increase, of course, as with Obama’s 11 billion dollars package set to improve America’s electricity consumption.
– Hoang Doan