How Smart Grids can affect energy efficiency
Being defined as smart grids because they use more flexible systems than traditional grids in managing energy production peaks, production drops and information, Smart Grids allow greater stability of the electricity system and maximisation of the energy produced. This approach proves to be more efficient in terms of economic costs and environmental impact, because it allows more timely and reliable control and management of electricity grids. But how exactly?
WHATS DOES SMART GRID MEANS?
When we speak of a Smart Grid, we mean an innovative and highly competitive set of electricity distribution networks linked together by intelligent sensors that enable the regulation of energy flows.
The concept was born and spread in Europe starting in 2006 by the European Technology Platform for the Electricity Networks of the Future, the Smart Grid, and indicates an energy production and distribution network that economically and reliably integrates producer performance and consumer demands.
Referring to this system, we speak of smart grids because the so-called smart electric grids intervene in the production and distribution systems of electricity, and in particular in that produced from renewable energy sources, i.e. cyclically reconstituted and producing clean energy with less environmental impact, such as wind, photovoltaic, geothermal or combined heat and power systems.
SMART GRIDS AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The subject of energy efficiency is closely related to the issue of limiting waste and the use of the planet’s primary energy resources. An efficient system enables high performance with a reduction in the amount of energy resources used.
With the increased use of renewable energy sources, which are by their nature not programmable and whose energy production is not controllable but often discontinuous because it is correlated with weather conditions, it is definitely crucial to have new generation networks such as smart grids.
The need to use highly modulated cogenerators, which produce energy according to the amount of primary energy available. They can also produce in stand-alone mode, automatically disconnecting from the national grid, while continuing to produce energy. Through the use of digital technology, these smart grids can enable timely and remote control of the available energy feed-in and withdrawal points, avoiding interruptions or malfunctions.
Furthermore, the smart grid is based on a decentralised grid model, which is based on distributed generation systems that produce energy from renewable sources, but not only. Usually, this production is developed through smaller but also more diffuse units, which provide for this reason a more capillary, peripheral and quicker distribution, unlike the traditional model, based on centralised production that conveys energy production from large power plants to transmission networks without the possibility of regulation and rationalisation.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO INVEST IN SMART GRIDS
The investment in Smart Grids is necessary in order to be able to implement greater monitoring of electricity distribution and to organise the storage of produced stocks and their rational redistribution. This makes it possible to store surplus production during the summer months, for example, and to balance deficits during periods of lower production. But above all, it makes it possible to optimise the more discontinuous and non-programmable production of energy, from renewable and nonrenewable sources.
To be able to do this, Smart Grids can communicate with each other in every segment of the grid, managing the decentralisation of energy production and the processing of the data provided. This means that at every point in the grid, it is possible to store and optimise the production and transmission of electricity, leading not only to a reduction in costs and consumption by maximising performance, but also to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the primary goal of energy efficiency and decarbonisation of the economy.