Always connected, always on, the world’s appetite for power shows little sign of abating.
It’s hardly a surprise to learn that we’re using more power than ever before — and global consumption is only set to rise: up 27% by 2040, according to some predictions.1
Managing this seemingly inevitable scenario will be complex and the solution won’t only rely on power generation that’s sustainable — think renewables, like solar and wind. It will also require methods of distribution and ways of consumption that are much, much smarter.
It’s time to turn on the Smart Grid.
Enabled by IoT technologies, big data, and the cloud, the smart grids of tomorrow will, in effect, be capable of running themselves. They’ll gather massive amounts of data from smart sensors littered across every operational part of the grid — from transmission cables and transformers, to appliances in end-users businesses and homes — analyzing it all in order to make smarter, more informed decisions, big to small.
In this way, a smart grid will be far better able to match supply with demand, micro-managing from locale to locale, household to household — with intelligent predictions based on the massive amounts of new data generated on a minute by minute basis. Indeed, a single smart meter might very well generate in a matter of hours the same amount of data that was previously only available for an entire year. (And with smart meters, the tedious footwork of manually collecting data also becomes a thing of the past.)
From poorly performing transformers to weakened lines, a smart grid will also use the data it gathers to spot potential areas of stress well in advance, making repairs proactive rather than reactive, eliminating unnecessary wastage.
Indeed, a smart grid will streamline efficiencies across the board, even down to managing home appliances, optimizing performance and reducing overall consumption.
“IT-enabled smart grids can potentially save 6.3 billion MWh of electricity and reduce global emissions by 1.8 gigatons (Gt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2030.”2
Indeed, already a reality, smart grids have proven that they work. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions deployed by Huawei and Ikeja — Nigeria’s leading power company — have helped reduce line loss from an unconscionably high 45%, to just 14%, for example.
And the contribution that smart grid technology can make is only going to get greater. China plans to increase the nationwide coverage of smart meters operating on its grid to 70% by 2022, with other Asian and southeast Asian countries likely to follow suit.
As global power consumption skyrockets, its approaches like this that will help ensure power is used efficiently, responsibly — and intelligently.