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Freitag, 1.07.2022
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Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Deputy Vice Principal and Head of School of Engineering & Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Dubai discusses ways in which smart grids can lower emissions and advance the full transition to smart cities.

With the electricity grid becoming smarter and more ecological, there is no doubt that this has the potential to revolutionise the way that we live.

Smart grids, an integral constituent of smart cities, can lay the foundation for the development of a 100% ecological form of energy as they permit optimal management of energy, taking full advantage of its potential.

There is no doubt that the smart grids and smart cities are inextricably linked. Not only can smart grids support the integration of renewable energy, a key pillar of smart cities, but they can contribute to resource efficiency and cost cutting.

According to Juniper Research, smart grid technologies are expected to save 1,000TWh of electricity by 2026, equivalent to $96 billion.

With countries around the world setting ambitious targets to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050, the primary way to achieve that is to use significantly less energy. Since cities are responsible for the majority of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, going smart can play a pivotal role in achieving these objectives.

Through the optimal energy management that smart grids allow, the synergy between smart grids and smart cities has never been stronger. Smart grids can permit the decentralisation of energy generation and storage and optimise electricity transmission. This means that grids communicate with one another, optimising resource use and reduction of waste.

There are several ways in which smart grids can improve efficiency and make way for a truly smart sustainable city.

Energy Efficiency through IoT

One of the major features of smart cities is the analysis and use of data that can be collected by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors.

These data can be used to improve infrastructure, public utilities and services, which are necessary to achieve energy efficiency targets. Smart grids allow predictive maintenance and can create smaller groups from larger electrical utility grids, which provides organisations with greater control of how to optimise their energy supply.

In fact, a new generation of low carbon microgrids, leveraging IoT technology, is transforming the design of densely populated cities and helping to operate utility systems to improve energy efficiency.

Through the Internet of Things, organisations can cost-effectively implement microgrids. In addition, microgrids can also reduce dependency on utilities by helping cost reduction through avoiding peak usage charges. As such, smart grids are believed to have the potential to revolutionise the distribution of electricity worldwide.

Electric Vehicle Technology (EV)

As motor vehicles are on of the largest producers of greenhouse gases worldwide, electric vehicles and EV charging stations will be essential to future smart cities. Electric vehicles use smart grid technology to effectively meet the power system demand while reducing carbon emissions.

The data collected from sensors and in-built trackers can help energy generation optimisation and lower emissions. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the NRDC, vehicles are responsible for about 60 percent of carbon pollution.

With the help of energy management that smart grids enable; the use of electric cars can offset a significant amount of emissions.

Integration of Renewable Energy Sources

One of the features of smart grids that are most essential to smart cities is their ability to integrate renewable energy sources through gathering data. Wind farms are a good example as they use mechanical gears that require each link to support multiple sensors.

These sensors are then able to note current environmental conditions and can send the information in real time through the grid to alert the utility of any issues. This significantly improves safety conditions as well as the quality of service.

Through the semiconductor material that smart grids are equipped with; the use of electricity can be effectively regulated. For example, electric vehicles can charge at night, when electricity use is typically less than during the day. In addition, lights switches, and furnaces can also automatically power on and off. In this ways, effective demand management therefore can reduce overall energy usage.

For the second year in a row, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been ranked as the smartest cities in the Middle East and North Africa region on the Smart City Index 2021. Recently, DEWA announced the completion of the short-term goals of its Smart Grid Strategy including replacing all electricity and water meters with smart meters, automating meter readings, and allowing customers to effectively manage their electricity and water usage.

The implementation of a smart grid strategy is a testament to the country’s realisation of its importance to its smart city objectives.

With the government’s dedication to making Dubai a smart city and already implementing its smart grid strategy, we may be witnessing changes to the way we live sooner than we think.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Tadhg O’Donovan

Quelle/Source: Utilities, 13.06.2022

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