The application of digital technologies will encourage the growth of renewable and distributed energy resources, increasing involvement of electricity customers and businesses in both managing and producing energy.
The smart grid involves the application of advanced communications and control technologies and practices to improve reliability, efficiency and security, which are key ingredients in the ongoing modernization of the rural electricity delivery infrastructure.
The rural smart grid technologies are being applied across the electric network, including distribution and customer-based systems.
Traditionally, utilities managed a fairly predictable system in terms of the supply and demand of electricity with one-way flow from large, centralized generation plants to customers. The modern grid is becoming much more complex and will need to handle:
- Variable power from renewable energy resources that are located within distribution systems
- Two-way power flows from distributed energy resources and other assets, such as rooftop solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy storage devices
- The active management and generation of energy by utility customers and businesses other than utilities
- Advanced communications and control technologies with “built-in” cybersecurity protection
The integration of these technologies and practices will require a faster-acting, more flexible grid and new business and regulatory approaches. There will be a need to maintain reliability, especially as consumers and third-parties become more involved in the management and generation of electricity. Also, long-term investment strategies will be needed to effectively balance competing demands for reliable, efficient, secure, and affordable electricity delivery. The Smart Rural Grid technologies will solve the equation!