Innovative features of SmartGrids architecture
A bidirectional active power distribution channel from generators to client devices and a bidirectional communication channel between all network members.
In order to ensure uninterrupted communication between all system participants, Smart Grid uses digital communication networks and data exchange interfaces. One of the key tasks of Smart Grid is the ability to manage the balance between supply and demand within the network. In this regard, all elements of the network exchange in real time as data on energy consumption, modes (tariffs) of consumption, the amount of energy consumed and planned consumption (predictive data based on statistical information), as well as some commercial information.
The Smart Grid provides protection and self-healing for major failures, natural disasters, and external threats (e.g. local AC/DC power module failure detection based on statistical data).
From a commercial point of view, the use of this technology implies the appearance of a new service market.
Thanks to the development of info-communication technologies Smart Grid can be used both on the scale of administrative premises or enterprises, and for home electrical devices. In this context, Smart Grid partially implements the concept of "Internet of Things", respectively, all devices included in a common system (local and global) must be equipped with means of information interaction.
The definition of "Smart" is justified by creating a channel of communication with the central data processing module, which is responsible for making decisions based on the received data. "Smart" architecture implies the integration of digital technologies into the supply network, mainly the power supply network, and the integration of these networks into a common utility system. The power supply networks are divided into three classes according to the level of transformation: deep transformation of the entire infrastructure, such as Strong Grid in China; creation of an additional digital layer, which implies intelligent data analysis; transformation of business processes, for commercialization and monetization of new technologies.
Currently, the main emphasis in the modernization of power supply networks is on the automation of power distribution processes and the process of transition from the main sources to alternative ones. New opportunities should entail changes in the areas of reliability, efficiency, flexibility, commercial attractiveness of distribution and storage networks.
By equipping all meters and nodes with special PMU modules (phasor measurement units) for network monitoring, the task of troubleshooting is facilitated. The system calculates a statistical expectation in order to obtain information on the approximate number of generators to be used at a given time. The statistics are used for early fault detection in the local AC/DC power supply module.
There are opportunities to improve power supply reliability, such as control of fire hazardous areas in the circuit, emergency alarm, with the possibility of automatic power-off, automatic calls to technical support and rescue services, etc. At the same time, the amount of data sent via the communication channel is relatively small compared to the amount of information used to provide voice calls, Internet access and television.
Efficiency is achieved by a branching network, i.e. a transition from a centralized topology to a highly distributed one. Alternative energy sources are connected to existing systems, which can provide customers at peak loads.
One of the system's key advantages is load control. The total network load may vary depending on the time of day. Classic networks do not change the number of generators depending on the load of the network, which causes excess power during periods of decline in customer activity. It is possible to adjust during peak activity hours and billing for power consumption when Smart Grid servers start informing clients (both individuals and businesses) about the amount of power consumed and peak activity time. Enterprises are given the opportunity to contact the devices directly to reduce the amount of power they consume. Utilities providers tend to increase the price of energy during peak hours, which encourages customers to use utilities during less busy hours. In this way, consumption will be implicitly regulated by market laws. For example, the system of the Italian company Enel allows customers to regulate the tariff conditions depending on energy consumption.
Smart Grid allows for systematic communication between manufacturers and consumers (the manufacturer offers a price, and the consumer chooses whether it is profitable or not), as well as allows customers and manufacturers to choose more flexible terms of cooperation. The maximum energy price is set only under critical network load conditions, and therefore customers are encouraged to plan their energy consumption strategy in advance.
Smart Grid Working Group. Challenge and Opportunity: Charting a New Energy Future, Appendix A: Working Group Reports // Energy Future Coalition. – Washington, 2003. – P. 42-118.
NETL Modern Grid Initiative — Powering Our 21st-Century Economy. United States Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability // National Energy Technology Laboratory. – 2007. – Vol. 8. – 17 p.
SMART 2020: Enabling the Low Carbon Economy inthe Information Age // The Climate Group on behalf of the Global Sustainability Initiative. – Brussels, 2008. – 87 p.
Enel // https://www.enel.com/en-gb: 2.04.2015
To be continued