Big data, advanced analytics, and IoT technologies (Internet of Things) are essential technology drivers in smart grids whereby analytics shift to the edge, as in edge computing. Smart grids leverage more technologies with an obvious key role for IoT. An electrical grid is a network to deliver electricity from the producer(s) and places where it’s generated and transformed (power plants and substations) to the final destinations where electricity is ‘consumed’: households, businesses, various facilities, and the consumer in general. In practice, it is a highly interconnected network with several components such as substations, transmission lines and wiring, distribution lines, transformers, and more. The purpose of an electrical grid is to ensure that electricity is always provided when and where needed, without interruption and herein lie many challenges where a smart grid can already offer solutions/answers. The two-way flow of electricity and data that is the essential characteristic of a smart grid enables to feed information and data to the various stakeholders in the electricity market and can be analyzed to optimize the grid, foresee potential issues, react faster when challenges arise and build new capacities and services as the power landscape is changing. The electricity market, consumption of electricity, regulations, demands of various stakeholders, and the very production of electricity are all changing. So, smart grid initiatives exist across the globe, with different approaches and goals. However, a smart grid is about much more than just smart metering and some other elements include the distribution lines and substations (substation automation and, increasingly, digital substations), technologies and mechanisms to prevent power outages and ensure power quality (availability, reliability, etc.), the integration of energy from various sources with an increased focus on ‘green energy’, smart power generation, sensing along transmission lines, power system automation, the inclusion of micro-generation whereby especially organizations and larger facilities can generate power and supply it to the central network grid (on top of prosumers - people that both produce and consume power), better and more power storage capabilities, ways to enhance security, alternative transmission methods to save on precious metals and the design of more modern and stable electrical grids in countries and areas where old grids need replacement. “One of the primary characteristics of a smart grid is its ability to self-heal with flexibility”. Pointing to FLISR technology (fault location, isolation, and service restoration) self-healing capabilities minimize blackouts because they allow for continuous self-assessments that inspect, analyze, react to, and automatically respond to problems. It is made possible through the widespread deployment of sensors and other intelligent devices and automated controls that check and evaluate the status and condition of the network to identify abnormalities and problems. In short, the digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers and the sensing along the transmission lines is what makes the grid smart. Like the Internet, the Smart Grid will consist of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies and equipment working together, but in this case, these technologies will work with the electrical grid to respond digitally to our quickly changing electric demand. The benefits associated with the Smart Grid include: o More efficient transmission of electricity o Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances o Reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and ultimately lower power costs for consumers o Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates o Increased integration of large-scale renewable energy systems o Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems o Improved security & Management
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Energy and electricity usage has always been a concern for home and business owners. As resources become more scarce and electric costs continue to rise, users need to be aware of how they use their energy and use it efficiently. One way to do this is by installing an energy management system that helps the user understand when they use the most energy and the best techniques they can implement to conserve. Smart energy management is a way to understand smart energy and how the systems work most efficiently. Smart energy systems can be basic energy-saving air conditioners or using smart appliances, or more complex, like multi-building automation utility systems and installation of solar panels. Depending on the type of smart energy used, there are ways to manage the systems and enhance their abilities to save energy. The first step in smart energy management is to diagnose potential energy losses and existing problems in traditional commercial, residential, and industrial energy systems. By simply installing an energy management system that uses technology to identify wasted electricity, times of high usage, and monitoring, you know how much energy is being used and when. Now more than ever, it is important for consumers to monitor their carbon footprint. Updating home and office energy systems so that they are more efficient is one step forward to change how we consume electricity. By managing these systems with new technologies and software, we can reduce our cost and our carbon footprint. Smart Energy Management systems can truly change how we view our energy usage and reduce waste. These systems make it easier for consumers to monitor their usage and make effective changes. When energy use is deliberately monitored, controlled, and conserved, decreases in utility consumption and overall costs can be realized without sacrificing facilities operations.
Proactive, real-time data management can expose a wide range of unknown challenges associated with occupancy, building use, and peaks in utility usage. The real-time data allowed the building operators to identify potential issues instantaneously, implement corrective actions to prevent critical shut-downs, and manage loads before they affected the entire system. 01 ACTIVELY MANAGE  REAL-TIME ENERGY USE Use advanced metering & energy management systems (EMS) to capture real-time data, ensure its accuracy and, in turn, address specific issues. A sophisticated metering system equipped with proper EMS software will automatically collect, process, and format these data points in real time, if not hourly. The ability to process these useful data points into an easy to use format improves the overall system effectiveness and functionality. 02 ACTIVELY MANAGE  WHAT IS MEASURABLE Use collected data to build a strategy that manages costs and consumption on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Implement load shifting and demand limiting systems to limit loads during peak hours and reduce costs. Managing consumption allows for early detection of improper set points, schedule misalignments, and equipment/system failures. The proper system can flag leaks, irregular changes and energy & water waste. 03 ACTIVELY MANAGE  ENERGY CONSUMPTION Evaluate all possible savings including water, waste, energy, and system/facility reliability to package the appropriate measures for the facility’s goals and financial requirements. A holistic plan is critical to leverage overall savings and provide a mix of improvements for substantial results. It is critical to engage leadership and key decision makers that impact the financials of facility operations. 04 HAVE A STRATEGIC SUPPORTED PLAN From simple lighting retrofits to complicated central utility plants and renewable energy systems, turn improvement ideas into a reality. Implement the Energy Management Strategy and act on identified opportunities.  05 IMPLEMENT THE  SUPPORTED PLAN Technology implementation & building retrofits are only part of the equation. Occupants have a big impact on a building’s efficiency and investments made. Education is key to the behavioural process, and empowering occupants with knowledge and resources will help increase energy savings as they can realize the impact through efficiency or financial gain.  06 ESTABLISH A BEHAVIOURAL  AWARENESS PROGRAMME Recognize achievements and the need for future actions and changes 07 PERIODICALLY REVIEW  THE IMPLEMENTED PLAN energy management