With a global move to add intelligence to the power grid, we are changing the name of our newsletter Information Systems & Automation to The Smarter Grid. If you currently subscribe to Information Systems & Automation we will automatically continue your subscription with The Smarter Grid. If you are not a current subscriber, but would like to receive a free subscription to The Smarter Grid, click here.
Historically, the electric grid has been understood by only a few people within an electric utility: the engineers who designed it and those who operate it 24/7. Even then, the amount of real-time data available to the grid operators has been limited to instrumentation in larger substations and tie-points, where one utility’s grid is interconnected to another’s.
The grid is complex. Generators (coal, gas, oil, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, etc.) pump electrons into the grid. Consumers (industrial, commercial, residential) pump electrons out of the grid. Transmission and distribution grid operators must balance the inflow and outflow without exceeding the physical, electrical limitations of the grid equipment -- and not just their equipment but the equipment of all other interconnected utilities.
The goal of the smart grid is to provide more data, both to people within utilities as well as consumers, with the aim of making the grid more efficient, efficient in the sense that all parties save money: investments in the grid, daily operational expenses, costs of generation, consumers' electric bills.