Smart Grids

A smart grid refers to an electricity grid ecosystem (power generators, transmission and distribution networks) that is intelligent, responsive and efficient.

Smart grids represent a wide range of technologies, processes and even business models. At the base of it all is the effort to ensure that the grid and its key stakeholders - power generator, distributor and consumer - act in unison to make the whole grid efficient. A smart grid will also ensure lower CO2 emissions from the ecosystem’s higher efficiency.

Depending on the component of the smart grid being considered, it could either be fairly well developed or in its nascent stages. Some of them - such as grid monitoring and analytics - have evolved significantly in the last few years, while some others - such as those in the intersection of grid and the e-mobility ecosystem - are still in their development stages.

Smart grids are applicable for almost every country. However, owing to the cost of implementation, as well as the differing nature and stakeholder patterns in different countries, some countries could see much quicker developments than the rest of world during the 2020-2030 period.

The key challenges smart grids face are the high costs of implementation, the diverse set of stakeholders and complex nature of the overall ecosystem - all these could stand in the way of quick implementations.

Innovation in smart grids for the 2020-2030 period will be around the extensive use of a variety of digital tech (IoT, AI/Big Data especially), analytics, focus on power transmission & distribution efficiencies, demand response systems, integration with the renewable energy & e-mobility ecosystems, and capacity building for utilities for smart grid implementation and maintenance.

Decarbonization potential

As power generation constitutes the single largest contributor to CO2 emissions (about 35%), a grid that makes power generation, distribution and use efficient can go a long way in providing significant decarbonization benefits in the 2020-2030 period.

Even in developed countries such as the US, transmission & distribution electricity losses are about 5%. It is much higher in many countries. Studies have shown that incorporating intelligence into the grid can decrease T&D losses by up to 50%. Translating this to a global scenario, under conservative assumptions, this could imply energy generation savings of about 1000 TWh per annum, about 500 million tons of annual CO2 emissions.

But the decarbonization potential of smart grids goes beyond this. In an increasing renewable power contribution to the grid scenario, a high level of grid intelligence combined with the ability to shape end user electricity demand as a function of time will lead to much smoother integration of low carbon electricity with the grid. The positive effects on power decarbonization could be significant.

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Internet & online solutions
  • Computers & software
  • Construction & real estate
  • Electrical
  • Electronics & semiconductors
  • Oil & gas
  • Power
  • Road transport

Latest News on Smart Grids

Themes & Topics

  • Smart grid for

    • Power generation

    • Power transmission and distribution

  • End users

    • Industrial & commercial end users

    • Domestic end users

    • Demand side management

      • Peak shaving

  • Renewable energy & smart grids

    • Solar power

    • Wind power

  • Energy storage & smart grids

  • E-mobility & smart grids

    • V2G

  • Low carbon buildings & smart grids



  • Technologies used

    • IoT

    • Big Data & AI

    • Cloud

    • Wireless

    • Grid virtualization

    • Smart grid chip development

  • Software components

  • Hardware components

  • Education & capacity building

  • Collaboration

  • Policies

  • Case studies






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