For more than one hundred years, the grid has supported a vast network of transmission lines, substations, and transformers to deliver power to your home or business. Over the past century, the United States electric grid has evolved into one of the largest and most dependable energy systems in the world, with more than 9,200 electric generating units with over 1 million megawatts of generating capacity connected to more than 600,000 miles of transmission lines. Today, that evolution continues as the energy industry moves into the digital era.
How We’re Making the Energy Grid “Smart”
The smart grid harnesses digital technology to allow for two-way power flow and efficient communication of energy data. By bringing communication technology into electricity generation, delivery, and consumption, we’re making systems cleaner, safer, and more efficient and resilient. These updates can improve the energy services you receive and help you make informed decisions about how and when you use energy.
The smart grid includes a network of modern energy technology, including smart meters, smart appliances, and renewable and energy-efficient resources.
How the Smart Grid Works
A hybrid of traditional and renewable energy resources powers the smart grid.
Transmission & Distribution
Power transmission and distribution infrastructure connects multiple energy sources with customers. At the core, the control center uses real-time monitoring to manage and forecast customers’ constantly shifting energy needs.
Using smart meters, we can gather usage information, monitor supply, and anticipate power surges. Access to real-time data helps us meet modern energy demands from residential and commercial buildings, as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
What are the benefits of the smart grid?
Infrastructure updates and improvements allow us to meet the growing demand for power as we continue to deliver energy safely, reliably, and efficiently.
- Saves money. Smart meters allow us to offer smart usage rewards to large customers who cut back on their usage during peak periods, such as heat waves and cold spells. By reducing demand on the grid, we eliminate the need for costly upgrades, and that means everyone saves.
- Helps you manage your energy consumption. 24/7 rate and usage readings give you more control and help you make smarter energy choices. For example, you can avoid cost spikes by scheduling your most energy-intensive tasks for low-demand periods when you pay less. Greater control means no more surprises on your monthly bill and cost savings month after month.
- Reduces outages and restoration time. Smart meters can electronically report the location of an outage before a person will ever have to call their energy company, making restoration faster and status notification to individuals much easier. Smart meters can also detect and report voltage and equipment issues that can be addressed immediately for improved overall safety.
- Protects the environment and maintains our global competitiveness. The smart grid safeguards our nation’s energy independence as we transition to a clean energy future. We need a sophisticated system to manage diverse renewable power sources like solar plants, wind farms, and hydro stations. The smart grid ensures that renewable energy can be stored safely and distributed wherever and whenever it’s needed.