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Let's learn about smart grids, the drivers of smart districts and more

Let's learn about
smart grids, the drivers of smart districts and more


Smart grids improve energy efficiency. Their flexibility enables traditional and decentralized energy sources to be managed together with renewable energy sources, even in self-generation mode. They are fundamental to the community life necessary for smart districts.

May 09th 2024

Buildings consume nearly 40 percent of the world's energy, according to data released by the IEA - International Energy Agency. Therefore, the efficient management of energy is very important. Only through the considered use of energy can we minimize the impacts on the network and guide people towards the careful and conscious use of resources. In a scenario of generation from renewable sources, even locally, we need a smart grid to optimize power distribution and minimize overloads and voltage variations. If we think about the new housing paradigm that will take shape in the coming years with smart districts, we need to understand the benefits of the smart grid.

The smart grid

A traditional power grid is a one-way system which is able to store both energy flow and the return information on consumption. The smart grid instead uses distributed generation systems that need to communicate with each other and exchange data. Since energy production from renewable sources—such as sun and wind—cannot be programmed, managing distributed power generation systems requires a smart platform to administer demand and consumption bidirectionally; this is achieved using smart meters and devices, which enable the continuous exchange of information. The smart grid is thus the combination of an information network with an electrical distribution network, but there is more.

Smart grids in fact cover the entire energy production, transmission and distribution model through the interactive control and management of energy flows. Information automatically provided by sensors and processed by software ensures efficient power distribution, prevents blackouts or overloads, minimizes variations in electrical voltage, and connects plants on the grid with large power plants to optimize electricity supply and demand.

Through the digitization of electricity, the smart grid can therefore become an enabler for more conscious energy management. Communication within the grid, measuring the demand and—in the case of prosumers (conscious producers and consumers of energy)— the production and storage of the energy produced, are essential to make virtual exchange possible. Without a smart grid, an energy community, in which energy exchanges are analyzed in near-real time, would not be technically possible.

The importance of smart grids

There are a variety of benefits of a smart grid. In residential, commercial, and industrial settings, they improve energy management within the individual building, and for electric mobility they optimize supply and demand and prevent imbalances.  They ensure reliability of energy supply from renewable sources—produced remotely or on-site within the energy community—and increase awareness on the part of users, who can monitor consumption and promptly detect any anomalies.

There are also benefits for the grid operator including detailed and real-time information on the consumption of different users and tools for the accurate assessment of the electrical behavior of the grid in case of faults and scheduled works. Other benefits are seen for planning works and loss optimization. So, smart energy use, through more timely data analysis and big data collection, enables the construction of large-scale predictive models that are useful in achieving the goals of wider European and national energy policies.

This rationalization of consumption has a positive impact not only on spending but also on the ongoing energy transition – by allowing better grid management, smart grids promote the penetration of renewables in the electricity system and facilitate their gradual increase in the energy mix, as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals included in the Fit for 55%.

In this scenario, Plenitude stands as an operator capable of supporting all types of users (private and business), providing innovative and customized tools for energy efficiency using renewable sources. Only with the shared commitment to the effective use of resources can we generate value, reduce waste, and make energy consumption more efficient and less costly.

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