The current electric grid is long overdue for an overhaul. With IoT solutions, electricity providers can implement smart grids and transform the energy sector.
Today, the mainstream mode of electricity generation and transmission is proving to be inefficient and unreliable. The reason for this waning faith is that most of the grids in service globally were designed and built almost a century ago, when issues like climate change and sustainability were not priorities.
As the need for digitization and sustainable solutions intensifies, smart grids are increasingly becoming vital to the energy sector. Smart grid solutions represent unprecedented opportunities to move the energy sector into a new era of efficiency, reliability, and availability that will significantly contribute to the world’s economical and environmental health.
Because smart grids are made of connected technological and infrastructural components, the Internet of Things plays a critical role in their development. A smart grid includes various IoT-powered solutions, including advanced metering infrastructure, smart power distribution boards, and behind-the-meter load control systems.
This post explores the benefits that smart grids bring to the table and the top IoT solutions leading the smart grid revolution in 2021.
Benefits of IoT Smart Grids
IoT smart grids incorporate connected monitoring devices that track electricity usage in real-time. As a result, service providers get to learn directly from consumer trends and align their services with demand. Meanwhile, customers benefit from usage insights, which they can use to make better spending decisions.
Below are some key benefits of IoT-powered smart grids to the electricity supply chain.
- Demand Response: Smart grids place customers in the driver’s seat by giving them first-hand information about their electricity usage trends. Users can know how energy prices vary and realign their consumption for maximum savings.
- Load Balancing: The total sum of a grid’s load changes over time. A smart grid has devices that detect load variation and counsel customers accordingly. For instance, during heavy loads, users can be requested to temporarily switch off power-hungry appliances, preventing blackouts and increasing the longevity of electric systems.
- Off-grid Support: The implementation of end-user connectivity makes smart grids more welcoming to complementary solutions. Making customers aware of their usage trends motivates them to explore independent electricity sources like solar panels and windmills, promoting renewable energy utilization.
- Lower Electricity Costs: Increased off-grid electricity consumption translates to lower peak demand and a reduction in electricity rates.
- Predictive Maintenance: Using intelligent grid systems for monitoring and management provides a reliable means of detecting problems before they happen. By analyzing fault-finding data, maintenance teams can predict wear and malfunction, implement proactive maintenance, and prolong the lives of their equipment.
- Resilience: Unlike traditional power grids, smart grids have cloud data storage capabilities, which they use to record the state of the power generation and distribution network in real-time. Following a catastrophic event like an earthquake or tsunami, service providers can quickly bring systems back online with cloud data.
Top IoT Smart Grid Solutions in 2021
The increasing penetration of IoT in the energy sector is giving rise to some remarkable products that support the smart grid revolution. Read on for three notable solutions taking center stage in transforming the global electric grid.
1. Powering Smart Cities With Seedia
Smart cities are an ongoing trend whose market is expected to register a CAGR of 20%
between 2021 and 2025. Key supporters of growth are rising global urbanization and infrastructural investment, and more significantly, technological advancements like IoT and smart grids.
Unsurprisingly, future-centric companies and governments are eyeing smart grids as the ideal solution for powering future smart cities. One of the many startups in this space is Seedia
, which builds smart city solutions like benches, bus shelters, trash bins, and interactive kiosks equipped with solar panels. These distributed energy hubs serve multiple purposes, including charging gadgets and lighting streets. Some can even collect data on usage trends, helping cities refine processes like trash can emptying and bus-route planning.
2. Matching Supply And Demand With KrakenFlex
Artificial intelligence is at the heart of smart grids. Connected smart grid solutions produce a monumental amount of data, which can be turned into valuable insights with AI. Through artificial intelligence and data science, information about the location and state of power assets, along with the weather and the surrounding environment, can help operators make better decisions about energy distribution. On a consumer level, AI can help households understand the amount of energy individual appliances use and take cost-effective measures.
Some groundbreaking companies have entered the smart grid market within the context of AI. KrakenFlex
, for instance, uses AI-driven algorithms to balance demand with available supply from a myriad of public grids and private off-grid sources, helping electricity providers and regulators better manage fluctuations and peak usage. With AI, KrakenFlex can predict ups and downs in electricity consumption and vary supply accordingly, achieving efficiency within an interconnected smart grid system.
3. Increasing Electricity Access with SparkMeter
Smart off-grid solutions are increasingly gaining footing in areas that experience low electricity access, such as South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, the number of people without electricity access declined by 35 percent
from 2010 to 2020, largely driven by decentralized renewable-based solutions. Mini-grid connectivity more than doubled within the same period, thanks to solid government and organizational backing and rapid innovation. Today, technologies like the Internet of Things have risen to support these critical contributors to the energy ecosystem.
, an integrated smart meter, and automation software developer, is hard at work developing IoT products for smart mini-grid systems. The company’s smart meters provide rural communities that rely primarily on off-grid renewable energy with the ideal solution for tracking usage across households and appliances. These meters are also integrated with payment systems, enabling independent energy providers to create practical business models.
What Does The Future Hold for IoT Smart Grids?
In the past, smart grid development has been held back by financial constraints, inadequate supporting regulation, and a lack of knowledge on smart grid benefits. However, with technological advancements, innovation and decarbonization policies, and the ballooning customer demand for digital services, countries are gradually embracing smart grid solutions.
The Internet of Things offers power grids operational intelligence and efficiency through the dynamic management and control of assets, which reduces costs, increases safety, and drives sustainable electricity generation, delivery, and use. As the world continues to move toward a more decentralized power model, regulators are bound to look deeper into IoT-based smart grid technologies as a way to efficiently manage disparate electricity sources and optimize processes. At IoT2Market
, we anticipate an inflow of electricity management solutions into the IoT market down the road.