AI-powered Smart Grid & Distribution Network
Published on : Saturday 04-02-2023
Smart grid systems provide a platform for real time monitoring, analysis, control, and communication through digital networks, says Jasbir Singh.
Why should the world move towards an AI-powered Smart Grid & Distribution Network?
The traditional electricity grid circuits installed in the past are unreliable and have much higher transmission losses, low power quality, prone to partial shutdown/failure/full blackouts, supplying electricity in deficient conditions, not capable of integration of distributed energy sources like renewable sources. There is absence of real time monitoring and fast control in the generation to distribution systems. There is always an opportunity for smart grids conversion to act as a real-time solution for producer to consumer.
Smart grid technology is aimed at a solution to improve power generation, efficient design for transmission and distribution. The concept of smart grid is designed for grid observation/visibility, improved controllability, enhanced generation to transmission performance, secure power system and economical operations, maintenance, planning and outage. The main functions of a smart grid include high reliability, energy supply and network security, energy management, information and self-correcting action.
It requires a complete replacement of the automation structure of the power delivery system. It not only has electrical benefits but the encouraging driver for the introduction of ‘smart grid’ concept includes environmental aspects also. More and more dependency on renewable energy resources integrated with traditional power generation units in the same circuit helps us to reduce the carbon footprint. Smart grid technologies make use of computers and network communication systems to manage the power supply reliability and maintain stability. This is achieved through automated and intelligent demand management software. By using rapid communication systems between the grid operator and the consumers, users can control the load demand that is connected at different times of day.
AI integration to strengthen the control logarithms of smart grid
Integrating with artificial intelligence the power generation and distribution to the last point is becoming a reality. This is possible by power generation facilities having backward integrated with smart grid through automation of various processes. AI with IoT adds to a better control mechanism of devices to make the system seamlessly integrated to function with high reliability at generation units. Technology enables automation to provide instant feedback to the master controller from all connected sensors and devices in the power grid by streamlining the delivery process at the user end. It makes the system non turbulent even with minor fluctuations at the generation/load side.
Generally power grids are designed for sending power to plants, homes and offices having substations for distribution at strategic locations. The smart grid on the other hand streamlines the transmission and distribution by operation of the network through the real-time data monitoring and adjustments. The smart grid is a power delivery network analogous to the human nervous system where it, like the blood vessels in the human body, regulates human activities. The smart grid infrastructure helps to achieve optimal grid performance, by managing the grid where the electricity distribution happens during lean to peak-usage hours.
Smart grid is better described as a stable electrical grid that is AI-enabled, having a two-way communication network, to ensure efficient and stable transmission of electricity from generation to distribution. Smart grid automation transmits system-wide information of blackouts, variation in regular power consumption and real time energy usage pattern in the network is sent back to the generation side and regional power grid system, to optimise/minimise the grid power turbulence, which reduces the strain on the network. The development of the smart grid from concept to reality is the proliferation of IoT technologies with smart miniature sensors, controllers, advanced automation systems, actuators, etc.
The benefits from the smart grid revolution during the era of Industry 4.0 are pushing the concept closer to a global adoption. The potential of the smart grid system with smart grid management solutions makes it a reality for a direct measurement of its tangible returns. The management solutions for smart grid for operators on electrical assets and its direct connection to overall benefits make the asset owners popular and acceptable. Smart grid management application detects the abnormalities as it happens, raises alarm and resolves power network malfunctions by autonomous action or sometime by direct human intervention before it escalates into major problems. The management software collects information from the grid which can cause problems to raise alarm at a strategic level. The smart grid anticipates the problems which can create service disturbances before they actually happen. During such risk of failure, it can isolate systems on the affected electrical network to prevent sudden power outages which can lead to long-term blackouts.
Smart grid attributes
For the generating facilities and transmission network the smart grid consists the following:
a. Intelligent measuring devices and advance control
b. Digital communication systems/networks, and
c. Application software programs.
Smart grid uses the IoT devices and sensors to gather the data and transmit it to the management system. This data by use of artificial intelligence gives rise to a signal to automatically adjust the consistent electricity flows. It can communicate with a remote smart power management system for automatically outage of the non-critical load in case of disturbance and allow the operator to restart if the grid system becomes stable.
A smart grid implementation has the following advantages:
i. Optimise the power stability for smooth operation at generation and consumption
ii. Enable demand generation and demand-side consumption management
iii. Improve on the environmental impacts
iv. Optimised and efficient use/performance of the assets
v. Improves reliability and security.
Benefits associated with the smart grid application
The smart grid is the new era of energy management in industry for power reliability, availability, and improved efficiency.
Instant disconnection of fault – AI-enabled IoT sensors installed in the grid detect the exact location of failure, and automatically reroute when outages occur – containing them before they escalate to large-scale blackouts.
Fast restoration of electricity after power/grid disturbances – Smart grid’s self-detecting and correcting capability would be helpful during natural disasters, allowing the system to be quickly restored by communication to remote controllers for intelligently rerouting the power delivery.
Lowering the overall costs of power for utilities – The smart grid management system benefits the consumers by providing intelligent control over consumption of electricity for utilities in plant and household equipment. This is possible for the end-user by auto managing the service load during peak hour and normal hours. The seamless integration of external power from the grid over the consumer’s own renewable power sources to reduce the overall cost by using a smart grid management system.
Monitoring the real time electricity usages – Smart grid management increases the availability of dashboards on web portals to monitor the power consumption data in real time and tools for analysis.
Reduced peak demand consumption, to lower electricity bills – The smart grid management panels support monitoring and control home appliances from remote with a wireless connection. Users can take appropriate action internally as per need. Industries are prompted to shut down some of their operations during peak demand hour to reduce the system load. The demand management can be made fully automated by linking with shutdown of some loads in the plant at different trigger points of the day.
Managing load smartly – Smart meters on houses/industries can be connected remotely through wireless systems which provide full information to the user and power distribution company about the current power consumption, and calculate it into an actual cost. Such a dashboard system will access the consumers to know real time data and how much they are spending at any point of time. They can reduce the power consumption during peak hours.
Generation units’ production based on demand – Plants can better integrate the renewable energy sources (e.g., windmills and solar panels) connected to the grid with conventional power generation by coal/gas and transmit that energy across the power grid to optimise the overall power generation cost.
Big Data for signature development and analysis
A huge volume of data is being collected from a large number of IoT sensors installed in the circuit, mostly transmitted through wireless communications and gathered at a centralised location. These data are captured from generation, power transmission to customer utilities processed and used with advanced algorithms which can forecast to recognise the power utilisation pattern during day and seasonal/environmental affect round the year. In the process it collects huge amounts of data related to weather, environment and seasonal affect. This will be useful to improve the better planning in smart energy management systems.
Smart grid systems provide a platform for real time monitoring, analysis, control, and communication through digital networks within the whole supply chain to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and optimise cost. This system maximises the transparency and reliability between producers to consumers of the energy supply chain. Smart grid system helps the producer/customer to forecast its load and the economical way for the utilisation of energy and complete value chain.
Jasbir Singh is an Automation Expert having long experience in Factory Automation, Line Automation, Implementation Strategist, Business Coach, Regular writer on automation, Artificial Intelligence, Robots/Cobots, Digital Technology, Network Communication, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Wireless Communication, Block Chain and use of advance digital technologies. He has established a long association with Business Houses/large production houses to improve factory automation in their production lines as well as productivity improvement in factories in India and overseas; and in advising and designing the units to transform into digital platforms by use of Artificial Intelligence. Email: email@example.com
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