The fundamental technology for infusing intelligence into the power grid has been in existence for years — more than a decade, in some cases. Today, the market for smart grid technologies is evolving rapidly as the need for a more responsive, automated and efficient power grid rises worldwide.
“The benefits of smart grid technology are becoming increasingly measurable, in terms of both economic benefits and improved grid reliability,” says Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Government mandates and growing challenges to grid stability, such as aging infrastructure, electric vehicle charging, and distributed generation, are contributing to increased spending on everything from smart metering systems in the field to new IT systems in the operations center.”
One of the major developments of the last year, according to the report, is that intelligence is increasingly put into grid devices rather than in the operations center, and analytics are moving closer to the data; in other words, the “smart” is moving outward, to the edges of the grid.
Distributed intelligence offers two major benefits to utilities. First, it alleviates the data flow to central control, placing less stress on communications networks. Second, distributed intelligence allows for faster — virtually instantaneous in some cases – response, which may help reduce outage times.