S. Blumsack and A. Fernandez
Energy (January 2012)
The “smart grid” represents one of the greatest potential advances in electricity delivery infrastructure in the past century. While the technologies that collectively comprise the smart grid have existed for decades, the potential for changing the way that electricity is generated, delivered, utilized and priced is revolutionary. Not surprisingly, many countries have undertaken initiatives to rollout smart grid infrastructure at an aggressive pace. Understanding the fundamental changes that the smart grid is likely to introduce is important for the development of future energy scenarios and the environmental, social and economic implications of these scenarios. Here we present an overview of the emerging smart grid and outline a few implications for the energy modeling community. Specifically, we discuss the potential for the smart grid to act as an enabling technology for renewable energy integration, price-responsive electricity demand, electrified transportation and distributed energy production as examples of how the smart grid may fundamentally change future energy system scenario development. The smart grid is being deployed and implemented much faster than we are able to fully consider its implications, and in some cases public policy has a long way to go before it catches up with the pace of smart grid technology deployment.
keywords: Smart grid; Energy modeling; Distributed energy; Energy policy