The benefits associated with the Smart Grid include:
- More efficient transmission of electricity
- Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances
- Reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and ultimately lower power costs for consumers
- Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates
- Increased integration of large-scale renewable energy systems
- Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems
- Improved security
The Smart Grid is not just about utilities and technologies; it is about giving you the information and tools you need to make choices about your energy use. If you already manage activities such as personal banking from your home computer, imagine managing your electricity in a similar way. A smarter grid will enable an unprecedented level of consumer participation.
For example, you will no longer have to wait for your monthly statement to know how much electricity you use. With a smarter grid, you can have a clear and timely picture of it. “Smart meters,” and other mechanisms, will allow you to see how much electricity you use, when you use it, and its cost. Combined with real-time pricing, this will allow you to save money by using less power when electricity is most expensive.
While the potential benefits of the Smart Grid are usually discussed in terms of economics, national security, and renewable energy goals, the Smart Grid has the potential to help you save money by helping you to manage your electricity use and choose the best times to purchase electricity. And you can save even more by generating your own power.