by Corridor Africa Technologies CEO Matone Ditlhake
Energy utility companies across the world are striving to find smarter ways to control the flow of energy. The benefits of digitalisation and connectivity are unquestionable. To survive, energy companies must harness the power and possibility of connectivity to build more reliable, secure and flexible digital infrastructures.
It is clear that becoming more connected is critical in allowing power utilities to improve how they monitor, control, and optimise every aspect of their business. By exploring and utilising the potential of cellular technology, communications infrastructure companies are taking on these challenges, helping power utilities create the power plants and smart grids of tomorrow.
In short, the grid of the future is a fully connected, digitised and Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven grid that can identify power needs at great speed and efficiency. The power grid needs to evolve from a mere basic energy provider to a smart grid – every device that consumes electricity needs to intelligently connected.
Smart grids can solve power problems by keeping a healthy balance between supply and demand. This can only be achieved through high-speed connectivity, a catalyst in grid management. In light of the current power electricity challenge, technology is certainly the solution.
There is a massive need to integrate connectivity into power grids, but for this to happen, telcos need to efficiently use the newly allocated radio frequency spectrum to drive digitisation and connect traditional industries.
The smart grid is an electrically smart network, it offers consumers services that rely on clever digital technologies for communication. This ecosystem is capable of supplying a sufficient amount of power to consumers, something that is not accomplished via a single platform. Instead, various energy sources are employed to generate power. These could include solar power systems or wind turbine facilities installed in diverse locations.
Understanding the social, economic and environmental benefits of the smart grid information and developing a solution that is likely to aggregate and relates the information produced by the smart grid is a major challenge for utility providers.
The smart grid allows consumers to view real-time data associated with billing accuracy. Moreover, the numbers for the expected bills are relatively low. These represent significant development potential for the smart grid sector.
According to research firm Statista, the smart grid technology market is estimated to grow to US $56b by 2026. Benefits include:
• Power demand management
• Consumer planning
• Informed appliance buying decisions
• Better emissions control
• Capex allocation as per the demand
• Illicit energy usage measurements
• Solving all billing issues
• Predictive maintenance
• Security improvement of critical infrastructure through security video streaming
• Creation of digital twins of critical infrastructure
Maintaining a constant flow of electricity is complex and challenging, power utilities must move away from traditional thinking and start their digital transformation journey by investing in new technologies to enhance the power grid and improve security, reliability and resiliency. A smart grid with wireless connectivity is essential to this evolution.