By Sonita Lontoh
The Digital Grid is essentially the application of smart-connected technology (e.g., smart sensors, two-way communication devices, and analytics) to our electric grid infrastructure to enable better energy efficiency, improved reliability (i.e., less blackouts and outages), the integration of more renewables and distributed energy resources (e.g., solar panels, electric vehicles, and battery storage), reduced emissions, and a more engaged and empowered consumer.
The flood of digital data must be quickly parsed to locate power failures, reroute electricity, or avoid overheating power lines. It also means that utilities must better deal with power line failures like the one that blacked-out the northeastern United States in 2003 and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars in lost productivity. . . .
Within the next decade, sensors are likely to be ubiquitous, to be everywhere and anywhere. One type of these smart devices in the electric industry, commonly referred to as a smart meter, will do to homeowners what the utilities have long done to factories — two-way communication — to give consumers like you and me better visibility and control about our energy usage, while also enable us to save costs and the environment — all in accordance to our choice, comfort and convenience (the 3C’s). If we choose to do so, smart technology could also enable our utilities (with our permissions) to do things like temporarily turn-off a smart appliance in our home to help avert a blackout. . .