The most important source of energy available widely is electricity and it is only natural that how we distribute the most important source of energy will develop over time. Since renewable energies have been slowly becoming competitive economically, we must account for them in our electrical grid. With traditional power grids, renewable energies as the power generation are centralized and with that, we must have smart grids. The differences between them are many but there are key differences that can be noted and contrasted between the two technologies.
Differences Between Smart Grid and Traditional Grid
The major differences between “smart grid” and “traditional grid” are:
The traditional power grid is essentially the interconnection of various power systems like the likes of transformers, transmission lines and different types of loads. Long transmission lines transfer the power from a far location from the power consumption area.
Smart grids have additional infrastructure such as advanced sensors, communication networks and smart meters that allow for two-way communication and real-time monitoring of the grid. A smart grid is an electrical grid that can intelligently integrate the behavior and actions of all parameters whether it is voltage, current and the like of it. The smart grid also can intelligently observe different users of the electrical grid and this observation can be at a city level to a country level and even to a continental level.
2. Flow of information
A smart grid is a revamped power grid form concentrating not only on the output of bulk electricity but also on smart meters, smart vehicles and energy-efficient technologies. This modern intelligent grid conducts a two-way flow of energy and knowledge, not just on a one-way delivery of electricity such as the conventional grid but on one that leads to efficient and more sophisticated power distribution.
Traditional grid includes centralized power generation. Smart grids include centralized and distributed power generation produced substantially by renewable energy sources. They integrate distributed and active resources (i.e. generation, loads, storage and electricity vehicles) into energy markets and power systems.
4. Energy efficiency
Smart grids are more energy-efficient than traditional grids. Advanced sensors and monitoring systems allow utilities to accurately predict energy demand and manage supply accordingly which reduces the amount of wasted energy.
5. Consumer participation
Utilities have typically interacted with customers on a limited basis—usually to start or stop service, troubleshoot service issues or process monthly bills. With the deployment of smart grid technologies, customers can interact with the utility in a variety of new ways to better manage their electricity use.
6. Resilient to attacks
The smart grid will need to incorporate a system-wide solution that reduces both physical and cyber vulnerabilities and enables rapid recovery from disruptions. Its resilience will need to deter would-be attackers even those who are determined and well-equipped. Its decentralized operating model and self-healing features will also make it less vulnerable to natural disasters than today’s grid.
Traditional power grids are electromechanically operated while smart grids are digital. This means that the smart grid has more communication between devices thus allowing remote control and self-regulation.
There are few sensors in traditional power grids while there are sensors throughout the smart grid. This also follows up closely with the idea of utilizing machine learning for smart grids. Compressive sensing in smart grids has aided us this far but we are not achieving the maximum potential of smart grids and hence this brings compressive sensing.
9. Renewable energy integration
As the electricity demand is increasing rapidly, satisfying it only through the traditional grid is becoming more difficult. The traditional grid is an old and costly system without suitable mechanisms for efficient energy distribution. Centralized power generation is used in traditional grids and greenhouse gases are emitted by fossil fuels. Thus, the traditional grid is not the best choice for energy generation and distribution. Traditional grid emits over 25% of greenhouse gases due to the fossil fuel burning process. Solar, wind energy and low-inertia power sources cannot be integrated through the traditional grid since it is not compatible with modern renewable energy technologies. Present research in the energy sector proves that renewable energy can be distributed through a smart grid. Smart grid has numerous features such as technologies for renewable energy integration and electricity storage.
Traditional grid is vulnerable to failures and cascading outages. Additionally, the system stability has decreased because of the ineffective infrastructure of the power delivery system and the tremendous rise in demand for electricity. Finally, terrible blackouts can be activated because of the failures of the components which could be the cause of irregularities in distributing the power supply.
Smart grids are generally more expensive to implement than traditional grids. However, over time, the energy savings and increased reliability of smart grids can offset these costs.
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