Smart grids are set to revolutionize the energy sector. With smart grid technology, consumers can save money, take control of their daily electric energy consumption more effectively and help protect the environment. So, it’s only natural that we will start to see more utilities announcing smart grid upgrades in the coming years. For example, Distribution Network Operator (DNO), Northern Powergrid is in the middle of a £83m smart grid upgrade that will accelerate its future activities.
Grid reliability is crucial for future-proofing utility assets, revenue and fulfilling customer service expectations. Smart grid technology can help monitor and predict the supply of energy to smooth the flow of power. For instance, by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect data on the smart grid, utilities can anticipate power outages as well as to quickly detect and resolve service issues through continuous self-assessments rather than depending on customers to report outages.
Smart grids allow for more efficient transmission of electricity and can therefore be more sustainable than traditional power grids. By having an improved insight of power usage, utilities can take steps to reduce usage where possible. Less consumption will ultimately lead to a smaller carbon footprint which, of course, is a huge benefit to the environment.
Smart grid technology is enabling utilities to integrate renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind farms and hydro stations into the national electrical grid and deliver their green energy to cities and homes where they’re needed. Grids need to be modernized to handle the varying levels of energy provided by renewable sources.
By integrating smart meters, operators will be able to monitor power usage in order to provide demand response programmes. These devices are designed to reduce peak-demand periods on the grid to eventually lead to less energy wastage and cost savings. Again, the idea of remote monitoring will reduce the demand for manpower and travel, therefore reducing operational expenditure (OPEX) costs, leading to savings for customers.
One of the most anticipated benefits of smart grids will be an increase in security. With the smart grid using and analysing data that is potentially sensitive surrounding its users, measures must be put in place to protect this data from physical and cyber-attack. By deploying the most recent systems, smart grids are becoming as “hack-proof” as possible.
How MMX can help
One of the biggest challenges and opportunities for the utility sector today is the development and implementation of smart grid technology.
MMX has extensive experience in the design, build and ongoing management of resilient smart grids for clients in the utilities sector. We also support the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) to shape future innovations and work with Britain’s largest energy suppliers.
At MMX, we take the security of smart grids very seriously. Our networks are used to supply critical national infrastructure and our work is guided by the government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). Further to this, the company is committed to complying with the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive). We also follow the ISA/IEC 62443 standards for SCADA and Industrial Control System security which have been endorsed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).