You may have heard a lot of buzz recently about the Smart Grid. But what exactly is this “grid”? Is it “dumb” now and growing “smarter”? (Short answer: yes.) And if so, should we be concerned that The Grid will become too smart for humanity’s own good at some point and try to take control of the planet like in The Terminator and The Matrix films? (Short answer: hmmm… we’ll let you be the judge of that.)
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA): the “Smart Grid” consists of devices connected to transmission and distribution lines that allow utilities and customers to receive digital information from and communicate with the grid. These devices allow a utility to find out where an outage or other problem is on the line and sometimes even fix the problem by sending digital instructions. Smart devices in the home, office, or factory inform consumers of times when an appliance is using relatively high-cost energy and allow consumers to remotely adjust its settings.
Smart devices make a Smart Grid as they help utilities reduce line losses, detect and fix problems faster, and help consumers conserve energy, especially at times when demand reaches significantly high levels or an energy demand reduction is needed to support system reliability.
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