It is widely agreed that energy conservation and renewable energy are critical to securing our energy future, but smarter electricity systems – like smart grids - are needed to exploit the full potential of modern energy solutions.
The whole world is buzzed with the smart grid concept and many developed countries are going for modernizing their outdated power system. Is a smart grid phenomenon important for Pakistan, which is going through worst energy crisis?
So what really smart grid is?
Smart grid is modern version of electric power grid infrastructure, which uses computer and communication technologies to enhance power generation, distribution and utilization. Smart grid technologies emerged from earlier attempts at using electronic control, metering, and monitoring.
Smart grid offers a lot for the utility companies that they can get most of their resources. As smart grid enables utility to completely visualize and control its system remotely. Smart grid provides facility to have real time monitoring of different power system components like transformer, generator, switchgear, etc. It can predict problems before they occur, and automatically heal (mend) itself if problems do happen. The fault tracing becomes easy and quick.
It is very significant in load adjustment, the total load connected to the power grid can vary significantly over time. Although the total load is the sum of many individual choices of the clients, the overall load is not a stable, slow varying or the increments.
The smart grid will make use of technologies, such as state estimation, that improve fault detection and allow self-healing of the network without the intervention of technicians. This will ensure more reliable supply of electricity, and reduced vulnerability to natural disasters or attack.
Apart from this it enables company to communicate with the energy meters by using the Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) so that utility companies can have a clear idea how their power (load) is being used, hunting down the losses due to “Kunda Connections”.
The smart grid allows for systematic communication between suppliers (their energy price) and consumers (their willingness-to-pay), and permits both the suppliers and the consumers to be more flexible and sophisticated in their operational strategies.
Another vital aspect of smart grid is integration of renewable energy sources into the existing power system. Since the power generated from renewable energy sources is intermittent (Stopping and starting at irregular intervals), So our existing power grids cannot handle it efficiently.
In Pakistan, KESC (Karachi Electric Supply Corporation) is the first utility, which is working on smart grid concept and they have deployed the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in some areas of Karachi. Still we have to go more in this regard and other utilities like WAPDA need to think over deploying such a system to tackle with the present energy crisis of Pakistan.
Although it requires a lot investment and careful planning to deploy smart grid. But we should go for this so that we are able to enjoy its benefits which are Energy saving, less energy bills, less faults in power system and quality power supply.
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