Smart grid – the systems view


Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 9, 2010 – A modern grid is a necessary enabler of a successful society, and the fundamental driver behind the modern grid initiative is the recognition of electric power’s essential societal role.

This statement sets out the development of a systems view of the smart grid, which forms the basis of the Modern Grid Strategy, which has been developed in the United States by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

The change to a modern grid must meet increasingly higher standards in reliability, security, cost of service, power quality, efficiency, environmental impact and safety, and to meet those, a number of questions must be confronted: What performance do we expect from the modern grid? How would it be characterized to meet those expectations? What technologies must be brought to bear? And how do we know if we’re succeeding?

The result is the identification of seven principal characteristics that describe the features of the grid in terms of its functionality rather than in terms of the specific technologies that may ultimately be needed. These are that the smart grid will:

  • Self-heal, i.e. anticipate and respond to system disturbances
  • Enable active participation by consumers
  • Operate resiliently against attack and natural disaster
  • Provide power quality (PQ) for the digital economy
  • Accommodate all generation and storage options
  • Enable new products, services, and markets
  • Optimize asset utilization and operate efficiently.

In addition five key technology areas are identified that are needed to attain those characteristics. These are:

  • Integrated communications
  • Sensing and measurement
  • Advanced components
  • Advanced control methods
  • Improved interfaces and decision support.

With the recent publication of the last White Paper in the principal characteristics’ series (on New Products, Services and Markets), a complete systems view of the smart grid is now available, offering a comprehensive high level overview for implementers and other stakeholders.

All of these then feed into a Vision, which is the starting point before any party – country, regulator, or utility – can begin to modernize their grid. As the Vision document puts it: “Understanding that vision, we can create the alignment necessary to inspire passion, investment, and progress toward the smart grid for the 21st century.”

The Modern Grid Strategy documents can be viewed here:

A Vision for the Smart Grid
A Systems View of the Modern Grid

Principal Characteristics:
Enables Active Participation by Consumers
Operates Resiliently Against Attack and Natural Disaster
Provides Power Quality for the Digital Economy
Accommodates All Generation and Storage Options
Enables New Products, Services, and Markets
Optimizes Asset Utilization and Operates Efficiently

Key Technology Areas:
Integrated Communications
Sensing and Measurement
Advanced Components
Advanced Control Methods
Improved Interfaces and Decision Support

Other Documents:
Building a Smart Grid Business Case
A Compendium of Smart Grid Technologies
Barriers to Achieving the Modern Grid
Modern Grid Benefits