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Smart Grids using Internet of Things for Efficient Energy Distribution

Most articles on the web talk about consumer perspective of Internet of Things (IoT) and how IoT is helping people creating smart homes and appliances. However, there is little buzz about greater impact brought by Internet of Things through smart energy delivery. Although, smart energy delivery is compared to smart meters, but there is a huge difference between the two. Smart Grid can be seen as representation of a car while smart meter can be pictured as just a car’s dashboard. Thus, smart energy delivery has a much broader perspective, in form of smart grids.

Smart grid uses IoT to provide efficient energy distribution by continuously adjusting energy delivery, hence reducing costs.

There have been many marvels of engineering in energy delivery domain and its best example is the United States Power grid. The grid is operating since mid-1900’s, generating 9200 electric units with a million megawatts of capacity over 300,000 miles of transmission line. When we have such efficient power deliver in place what is the need of Smart Grid, right?

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Why Smart Grids are Needed?

The three principal answers to above questions are
  1. If a given solution is good, we cannot stop right there, there is always a scope for improvement. Similarly, Smart Grid is much better than existing systems.
  2. Our earth has limited natural resources. People are realizing the value of natural energy resources and trying to consume it as sensibly as possible. Smart Grids can help us reduce consumption of our energy resources by improving energy distribution efficiency.
  3. When we talk about taking care of our pockets, smart grid surely gives cheap energy by reducing costs.

How Smart Grids Work?

A smart grid comprises of a broad range of sophisticated sensors, most of which use IoT technology. Power generation units can use up to 20 different types of sensors to deliver energy. These different components assess power needed at a particular time vs the power flowing at that instant. This information is then captured by power grids which help in determining future behaviors, thus optimizing energy delivery.

One of the vital usages of energy grids is energy delivery during peak demands. Smart Grids pump up water which drives turbine, during off-peak hours, stores the energy generated by it and delivers the same during heavy hours. This is in contrast to conventional power plants where they pump up water to run turbines whenever energy is needed and hence are unable to handle energy during crowning hours.

Along with energy consumption as a whole, smart grid can also device solutions using IoT at consumer homes and offices which let your air conditioners consume lesser power and hence minimize electricity bills. Thus, at each granular level, smart grid is a holistic approach to balance resources through one central control system.

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Smart Meter is an essential piece of smart grid as it offers countless options for how and when individuals consume energy. Smart meters powered by IoT, can help smart grids learn about energy usage by using machine learning and hence provide more efficient energy delivery solutions.

Smart grids are happening. There will be change in energy distribution standards and gradually methods for energy delivery will evolve. It is just a matter of time when countries start accepting smart grids with open arms.

Technologies can be understood but it must be progressed and accepted to create future.