How a Smart Grid Can Empower a Smart City

A new world is rapidly approaching, and producing a modernized grid capable of making the smart cities of the future a reality is the first step towards achieving success in it.

As smart cities continue to depart the realm of fiction and instead become a staple of life in the 21st century, eager entrepreneurs and aspirational scientist alike are increasingly turning to smart grids to power these cities of the future. Designing the infrastructure which enables smart cities is anything but easy, however, and many people today seem entirely unfamiliar with even the basic concept of a smart grid.

So, what exactly is a smart grid, and how are they increasingly shaping how America’s smart cities are taking form? Anyone who hopes to understand the cities of tomorrow should keep these facts in mind as they picture tomorrow’s cityscapes in their minds.

A new way to run cities

It’s not hard to figure out that smart cities necessitate modern infrastructure that can handle increased amounts of data traffic and digital connections. Not everyone seems to understand how smart grids are fundamentally reshaping how our utilities and infrastructure systems are shaped, however. Today’s smart grids are bigger and better than ever before, with innovative companies continuously churning out new and better grids more capable of servicing citizen’s needs.

Alfen recently launched a new smart grid so advanced it’s capable of operating autonomously and healing itself when damaged, for instance. As smart cities continue to become the norm, smart grids capable of running without human oversight will become more common, and technologies that allow them to repair themselves when damaged like Alfen’s will quickly growly invaluable. Not only are these grids reshaping our cities, then, but they’re continuously aspiring companies to invest more money into renewables and algorithms which can spur these grids’ growth.

The sensors that help make up today’s smart grids are truly impressive, and fit right into today’s Internet of Things-driven economy. Smart grids are capable of transmitting electricity more efficiently, for instance, but are also constantly gathering data about utility usages around the cities they help operate. This means that the wise application of smart grid’s data can result in better management that ultimately lowers cost for consumers.

Smart grids are helping combat today’s increasingly frequent natural disasters, too. Using the data accumulated from the grid over time, governments and utility providers can ultimately have public infrastructure services up and running more quickly after power disturbances. Building a nation of smart cities is thus clearly in America’s interest, but just how quickly are these new grids becoming the norm?

Modernizing America’s infrastructure

The U.S. electric grid is no simple engineering feat; more than 600,000 miles of transmission lines crisscross the nation, with over 1 million megawatts of generating capacity keeping the lights on year-round. Updating such a system to help spur the growth of smart grids won’t be easy, nor quick, but will ultimately prove to be a boon to society and the economy for decades to come.

Common smart city initiatives, then, such as supplying better internet access through router reviews to all citizens or streamlining city services, can all benefit from the widespread adoption of smart grids. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of smart cities is how their positive results trickle down to everyone in society; rich and poor alike benefit from the cleaner energy fostered by smart grids, and the entire city will reap the financial benefits of adopting one for generations.

Smart cites are powered by smart consumers who have access to cutting edge tech. Smart grids aim to hasten the services delivered to these consumers, as well as significantly cut back on their cost, and will go a long way in turning tomorrow’s citizens into tech-savvy urban denizens ready to operate in an increasingly complex 21st century economy.

Proponents of smart grids shouldn’t hold their breath waiting; the widespread adoption of these marvelous grids will only be possible with popular support, meaning citizens who want healthier, smarter cities should make their voices heard with their votes and their wallets alike. Tomorrow’s smart cities will be dominated by electric vehicles and data services, all of which smart grids go a long way towards enabling; it would be a shame to shun such a necessary part of a modern economy.

As smart cities continue to grow, more people will come to recognize the value of the smart grids that empower them. A new world is rapidly approaching, and producing a modernized grid capable of making the smart cities of the future a reality is the first step towards achieving success in it.

 

Gary Eastwood
Original source: Network World

 

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