3 Key Benefits of the Smart Grid
Over the last decade, there has been considerable progress in updating our power grids, which until recently had remained largely unchanged since the early days of electric power. Using digital technologies, like smart meters and sensors, today’s modern “smart grids” are optimizing the delivery of power to your home and around your community.
The smart grid is also providing the foundation necessary for meeting our present-day and future energy needs, such as preventing storm-related outages and addressing climate change. Let’s look at several of the other key benefits that the smart grid is bringing to you:
1. Energy data can now power hundreds of dollars of savings.
Like other areas of society, there has also been a data revolution in the energy industry. In the past, power companies only sent data to customers in the form of monthly bills that provided basic information, such as the total amount of energy consumed and the dollar amount owed.
Today, if you have a smart meter, you may have more access to and control over their energy data than ever before. This data can help you learn more about how and where you’re using electricity at home. By viewing your daily energy consumption data, you can adjust your daily patterns to save money while staying comfortable.
You may also be able to see which areas of your home are using the most energy and swap these devices and appliances out for more for energy-efficient versions. There are also many new programs and services that you can enroll in that are enabled by smart meter data. For example, there are programs to reduce energy consumption of appliances or your A/C in exchange for credits on your monthly bill.
Ultimately, access to your energy data means saving money. It’s estimated that the average American consumer could save up to $250 annually on their energy bills if they have access to their energy data.
2. The smart grid is enabling the adoption to clean energy technologies.
As we look to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions, the smart grid is serving as a foundation for integrating clean energy technologies, such solar panels, batteries, wind turbines and electric vehicles (EVs). Smart grids are needed to manage geographically scattered renewable energy sources. Without a smart grid, this energy maybe not be able to be distributed when and where it’s needed.
The smart grid is also helping us prepare for the electric vehicle revolution. As millions of Americans move to cleaner EVs in the coming years, they will need to charge these vehicles with electricity at home and around their communities. This presents a number of problems with an older grid in need of modernization. However, smart grids are better able to handle the fluctuations in energy demand around your community. The smart grid may even allow for energy stored in EV batteries to go back into the grid when needed.
Renewable energy and electric vehicles are becoming more cost effective with each passing year, but without smart grids in place, we won’t be able to effectively deploy these important technologies that are needed to address climate change.
3. There are now many power pricing options for you to choose from.
Now that many areas have smart grids in place with smart meters on homes, you may have the option to enroll in a variety of pricing plans that make it possible to save money by controlling how much electricity you use at different times of the day or week.
Instead of paying the same amount for each unit electricity you consume, plans like time-of-use rates are more expensive at times when electricity demand is high (like the late afternoon) and often very inexpensive at other times. There are also peak-time rebate programs that may reward you in the form of bill credits when you save energy during times of exceptionally high demand out of the year.
By enrolling in a different pricing plan, you may be able to better manage your budget and even benefit the environment without sacrificing comfort and convenience.
As you can see, the world of energy is in the middle of monumental change, and the foundation of this transformation is the smart grid. The smart grid is empowering you with new data-driven programs and services, enabling the rapid deployment of clean energy technologies and significantly reducing the number and length of outages, leading us all to a smarter, cleaner future.