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Chapter 1. Smart Grid: What Is It? > What Is a Smart Grid? - Pg. 10

10 CHAPTER 1 Smart Grid: What Is It? generation that relies on an endless supply of the traditional energy resources would excel. However, limited resources and concerns over environmental impact are driving the movement for clean and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Unfortunately, these types of clean, renewable resources have problems of their own including localization and continuity. For example, a solar power plant could generate large amounts of electricity if located in Florida; however, the output would be negligible if located in Antarctica. Additionally, current solar power plants all but cease to generate power during the night or during severe weather such as thunderstorms and hurricanes, which would drive the need for alternate sources of energy to meet demand. As a result, the current electric grid simply does not properly accommodate renewable energy sources. WHAT IS A SMART GRID? A smart grid is not a single device, application, system, network, or even idea. There is no single, authoritative definition for the question: What is a smart grid? However, the definitions from the various authoritative organizations, such as DOE, NERC, and SmartGrids Technology Platform (, follow a common theme: Smart grids utilize communication technology and information to optimally transmit and distribute electricity from suppliers to consumers. Figure 1.7 illustrates the basic concepts of a smart grid. Additionally, smart grid is not a static concept. It will continue to evolve as the existing technologies evolve and new technologies are developed. The type, configuration, and implementation of these technologies and the access to and transmission and use of relevant information are of primary concern in securing smart grids and for this book. Components To achieve the desired goals of reliable, efficient, and clean energy distribution, smart grids employ a combination of different technologies. According to DOE, the following technologies are considered Key Technology Areas 3 : · · · · · · Integrated two-way communication Advanced components Advanced control methods Sensing and measurement technologies Improved interfaces and decision support Applications of smart grid technology. Integrated Two-Way Communication Two-way communication enables operators to monitor and interact with compo- nents of the smart grid in real time. This type of communication improves the operator's ability to manage grid operations. For example, in the current grid, operators are unaware of blackouts until customers notify them, typically by way of