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Enabling Technology

Various technologies that enable smart grid operation can be grouped into five key technology areas. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Modern Grid Strategy, these categories are: advanced components, advanced control methods, sensing and measurement, improved interfaces and decision support, and integrated communications.

See below for sample smart grid technologies by key technology area.

Key Technology Area

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Integrated Communications

Of these five key technology areas, the implementation of integrated communications is "a foundational need, required by the other key technologies and essential to the modern power grid. Integrated communications will create a dynamic, interactive mega infrastructure for real-time information and power exchange, allowing users to interact with various intelligent electronic devices in an integrated system sensitive to the various speed requirements (including near real-time) of the interconnected applications."

Examples of Integrated Communication technologies include broadband power line, WiFi, WiMax, and ZigBee. See "A Systems View of the Modern Grid - Appendix B1: Integrated Communications v2.0" by the NETL Modern Grid Strategy Team.