smart grids

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What are Smart Grids?

The term smart grid comes from the integration of electrical engineering with Information and Communication Technologies. We can define it as an electrical distribution network system that integrates digital technology to supply the existing demand with maximum energy efficiency.

One of the main differences from the traditional electrical grid is the smart grid system is bi-directional, that is, it transmits electricity in both directions. In this way, both households and businesses can be consumers and also become small producers of electricity.

These smart grids incorporate a computer system that makes it possible to respond to fluctuations in energy production and demand in real time. Thanks to information obtained on energy consumption, users can actively participate and monitor the electrical behavior of each appliance connected to the grid. 

Smart grids are a key strategic concept in the energy transition, and they represent a major step towards a decarbonized world. By digitizing smart grids, a more efficient and sustainable system can be achieved, with low losses and high supply quality. The implementation of this smart grid would not only achieve greater energy efficiency and savings, but also multiple environmental, economic, and social benefits.

How do smart grids work?

The potential of smart grids lies in their ability to communicate and control consumption. By implementing an automated computer system, the fluctuations in electricity production can be addressed. There are two key points:

  • Remote management: a set of products based on computer, electronic, and telecommunications technologies to remotely control different installations. This smart grid feature allows real-time data collection and the ability to learn consumption habits in order to create rates and services adapted to the user's needs.
  • Operations center: receives and manages the data collected by remote management to know the real-time situation and act, if necessary. In the event of a problem, it is possible to intervene and provide an effective solution quickly. 

Advantages of Smart Grids over conventional grids

Smart grids represent a significant leap forward in terms of quality and reliability. They not only optimize electricity consumption, but also have multiple benefits for the environment, the economy, and society. 

a boy and an eco-socket

Environmental benefits

The energy efficiency that smart grids can achieve also has direct benefits for the environment, for example: 

smart kilowatt meter

Economic benefits

An efficient smart grid system has economic benefits, including:

  • Accessibility of information. Thanks to the collection of this data, the electricity company and consumers can reduce costs.
  • Operation costs can be minimized, which means a lower cost for the end consumer.
  • It facilitates the storage of electricity and improves efficiency in distributing energy flows, resulting in no waste.
  • Greater control of repairs by locating the power outage immediately.
  • There are fewer demand peaks, which translates into lower prices. 
woman using an app to measure the consumption of her household appliances thanks to smart grids

Social benefits

The implementation of smart grids has a direct impact on society:  

  • They allow an immediate response, ensuring an efficient energy system.
  • They increase the level of safety, reliability, and quality of service.
  • They make it possible to know the real-time consumption and rates.
  • The user is an active and fundamental part of the process. They can manage their energy consumption and offload their excess energy to the power grid or store it for another time.
  • In case of service disruptions, restoration is much faster.