When complete, the smart grid will consist of millions of different components, including advanced sensing and control systems, updated computer processing, improved transmission lines, as well as yet-to-be-developed technologies and equipment – all of which will enhance the reliability, security, and efficiency of electric power transmission in the U.S. What really makes the smart grid “smart” is the digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, along with advanced sensing along the transmission lines. [1]

Some of the technologies that will enable the smart grid include:

  • Advanced sensors known as Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) that allow operators to assess grid stability
  • Advanced digital meters that give consumers better information and automatically report outages
  • Relays that sense and recover from faults in the substation automatically
  • Automated feeder switches that re-route power around problems
  • Grid scale energy storage: batteries that store excess energy and make it available later to the grid to meet customer demand
  • Solid-state transformers and power flow controllers that can optimize power delivery and enhance resilience
  • Adaptive networks: complex interactive capabilities that can allow the system to respond to change
  • Intelligent communications and control systems
  • New measurements, data analytics, and models that leverage the latest scientific advancements in mathematics and computation
  • Smart appliances
  • Home and industry renewable power generation systems
  • Home and building energy management Systems
  • Electric vehicles and EV charging systems [2] [3]

Updated by Peter Matos, December 2023