Smart Grids are expected to be the biggest change to the electricity network in 100 years. It will change the electricity industry in much the same way that mobile phones have reshaped the telecommunications industry.
In summry, Smart Grid technologies will improve the reliability and response times to electricity outages, drive productivity gains and allow more distributed renewable energy sources to be connected to the grid.
Localized Distributed Energy Sources is one of major benefits enabled by a Smart Grid. With the current electricity network technology, electricity generated by roof-top solar systems within a local sub-station area is not able to be transferred to other sub-station areas. This power can only be used within its local area as the transformers can only manage power in a single direction. This present challenges in respect to the large amounts of residential solar systems installed that are feeding power back into the grid. During the working day, the high power demands are in the commercial/industrial areas, and the power from the residential solar systems outside these substation areas cannot be transferred. Smart Grid technologies will overcome this problem, by enabling localized distributed power sources to be managed and directed to meet the highest demand areas.
Smart grids will also enable excess electricity to be drawn down from thousands of electric car batteries while they charge overnight, and using that energy to run your home. Surges of renewable energy will need to be stored, and the batteries within electric vehicles are a feasible solution that researchers are investigating intensely at present.
Consider the possibility that there is an enormous distributed battery bank in the form of electric vehicles parked at people’s houses and work premises. Computers in the cars would communicate with the electricity network in terms of their state of battery charge, and to ensure that the right amount of power was drawn and the batteries remain charged.