The Spread Of Smart Grids
Smart grids are here. There is no way around it. With households introducing an ever-expanding line of appliances to their homes and government, business, communities, and individuals becoming more and more reliant on electricity, there is simply no way around it. It is this demand, though, that is also creating the drive and innovation that is helping to implement smart grids around the world. The spread of this more efficient and more cost-effective method for transporting power can be seen on every continent.
Smart grids are popping up all over the United States, from small towns to bigger cities. And they are seeing significant success in their goals of more reliable power provision and the lowering of electric bills. One good example of recent success is the EPB smart grid in Chatanooga, Tennessee. In May 2017 there was a major storm with severe strong winds. Significant damage was caused to the electrical infrastructure in the area. However, due to the smart grid’s ability to both prevent outages and automatically restore service, over 19,000 customers in Chattanooga did not have to experience a duration outage. This is a 58% reduction from before the smart grid’s implementation.
Scotland has jumped on the smart grid train and they are seeing success. However, their goal with the introduction of smart grids goes above and beyond providing more reliable and cheaper power. They want to become less reliant on fossil fuels and more reliant on renewable energy.
The project that is moving the country towards achieving this goal is called SMART Fintry. It launched in 2016 and is moving ahead full steam. The project itself is voluntary, allowing interested households to sign up for it on their own will. SMART Fintry matches the volunteer households’ energy demand with a local renewable source, usually solar or wind. Due to its success, a second round of funding has been raised so that the project can continue into its second phase, which will include a nationwide launch of connecting households to nearby energy generators and lowering energy costs across the board.
The Bigger Picture
Smart grids are arguably one of the most exciting investments that individuals and institutions can get involved in. This is simply because of the demand for them. Currently, electricity infrastructure, both its generation and its transmission, remains stuck in the 1900s. This is unsustainable, especially with such speedy technological advancements that demand better and more energy. And not only this, but the global population is growing faster than ever before. In three decades, nearly 10 billion people will populate the earth. All of these people will need energy. Smart grids are the most promising way to achieve that, through the integration of renewable energy and the more efficient use of energy created.
And it is for this very reason that some of the biggest countries in the world are seeing the lucrative possibility of partnering together to bring smart grids to more places. The India-based Enzen Global Solutions has recently partnered with Smarter Grid Solutions, from the United Kingdom. Their goal is to introduce smart grids to new and untapped markets. Not only will they be incorporating more renewable energy sources into the grids, but they will also be enabling the grids to draw from whichever source is most efficient. The new smart grids, over the coming years, will be introduced in South Africa, Australia, India, and across the Middle East.
Photo by Karsten Würth