What is “The Smart Grid”

The term “smart grid” refers to hardware and software added to the power system to achieve: a.) a more autonomous responsiveness to events that impact the electrical power grid, and b.) optimal day-to-day operational efficiency of electrical power delivery. Among the events that impact the grid are outages (scheduled and unscheduled), load-balancing and peak-shaving — or sending power back to the grid when demand is high. Smart grid hardware and software encompasses: a.) metering and monitoring of the power system, b.) communicating the conditions of the grid in real time, and c.) controlling the flow of power to maintain reliable service and stable operation. During the development of a smart grid infrastructure, it is reasonable to design the security protocols, renewable-based systems (wind, solar, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, biomass), time-of-use/demand-driven pricing and other aspects of the electrical power business into this next generation of the grid.