Day by day the electrical grid system becomes a vast network. In India only there are 432 Coal based Thermal Power Plant units, 206 gas based Thermal Power Plant units, 358 Hydro Power plant units, 84 renewable energy generating units and 32 Nuclear based power plants. India has more than 4,00,902 KM of Transmission Lines which are energized at 220 KV or more. So, one can imagine how vast and complex the grid network would be.
To move forward, we need a new kind of electric grid, one that can handle the digital and computerized equipment and technology connected to it and one that can automate and manage the increasing complexity and needs of electricity in the 21st Century era.
So the Smart Grid is the digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the producers and its customers, and the sensing along the transmission lines is what makes the grid smart. Like the Internet, the Smart Grid consists of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies and equipment working parallelly. These technologies will work with the electrical grid to respond digitally to our quickly changing electric demand.
Smart Grid also enables the real-time monitoring and control of power system as well as helps in reduction of transmission and distribution losses, demand response and demand side management, power quality management, smart home energy system etc. Smart Grid acts as a backbone infrastructure to enable new business models like smart city, electric vehicles, smart communities apart from more resilient and efficient energy system and tariff structures. Because of its importance, INDIAN POWERGRID has taken pioneering steps in bringing Smart Grid technology to all facets of power supply value chain & developed smart grid sample projects at Puducherry, covering all attributes of smart grid in distribution.
If we are already managing activities such as personal banking from your home computer, imagine managing your electricity in a similar way. A smarter grid will enable the consumer participation. For example, you will no longer have to wait for your monthly electric bills to know how much electricity you use. With a smarter grid, you can have a clear and real-time picture of it. Smart Electric meters and sensing devices and other mechanisms, will allow you to see how much electricity you use when you use it, and its cost. Combined with real-time price calculation, it will allow us you to save money by using less power when electricity is most expensive.
While the potential benefits of the Smart Grid are usually discussed in terms of economics, national security, and renewable energy goals, the Smart Grid has the potential to help you save money by helping you to manage your electricity use and choose the time as per of your convenience to purchase electricity. And you can save even more by generating your own power and connecting it to the power grid system.
When a power outage or blackout occurs, Smart Grid technologies detect and isolate the outages, containing them before they become large-scale blackouts. The new technologies also help ensure that electricity recovery resumes quickly and strategically after an emergency, routing electricity to emergency services first.
The diagram will help to understand how the electrical utility companies and consumers will be connected other than the power lines to minimize the fault and maximize the efficiency: