The challenges of climate change and the continued growth of electricity demand are putting increasing stress on the world’s electricity network infrastructure. The prevailing design philosophy for the existing electricity networks is a legacy from a period when energy was relatively cheap and plentiful and meeting rising demand was the dominant driver. The world is now at the point of transition to a new era where clean energy will be at a premium, networks will need to be flexible to the incorporation of new low-carbon technologies and customers will demand greater insight and control over their own consumption.
Smart grids are a necessary element to enable this transition:
• They deliver energy more efficiently and reliably
• They provide the capacity to integrate more renewable energy into existing networks
• They provide the ability to manage increasing numbers of electric vehicles
• They enable customers to have greater control of their energy
• They have considerable capacity to reduce global carbon emissions
• They stimulate an array of new business models in the energy sector