Smart Grids for Efficient Energy Management in Smart Cities
Written by Sudhir K. Routray
Smart cities are popular around the world due to their flexibility and ease of access for both businesses and individual needs. However, the increasing demand for energy in smart cities creates a need for smart energy management framework. In this regard, smart grids are found to be the good choice to handle the energy needs of the smart cities. Smart grid is now a well-established technology with the ability to handle different types of loads and sources. In this article, we provide a few instances of efficient energy management in smart cities using the facilities available in smart grid frameworks.
Smart cities are designed for the present and the future so that overall sustainability can be achieved through their reliable operations. In smart cities, millions of sensors and actuators will be deployed to provide all the basic and customized services to the citizens. Considering the size and population of these smart cities, we can estimate the energy requirements which are normally much higher than the current energy demands of the cities around the world. Energy efficiency is essential for the sustainability of these cities. In this article, we address a few important points regarding the energy management in the smart cities. We justify that smart grids are the appropriate solutions for these smart cities to meet their energy demands.
Smart Grids and Smart Cities
Smart grids are large multi-purpose grids which perform several functions. These grids are very much different from the traditional power grids. Smart grids need the support of a large number of sensors and actuators which can be provided through a properly deployed Internet of things (IoT) and other compatible information and communication technologies (ICT). Smart grids are essential to manage the modern increasing demand for power. Smart cities are the advanced cities in which all the basic and modern facilities are provided through smart infrastructure. ICT and IoT play critical roles in these smart service provisioning. Smart cities are not possible to establish without ICT and IoT. In addition to the support of IoT, smart cities need efficient energy management as the demand for energy is high. In the current situation, smart grids are found to be the perfect match for the smart cities.
Efficient Energy Management in Smart Cities
Smart cities provide a large number of services such as basic resource distribution (i.e., water, gas, and power etc.), healthcare, industrial and official activities, street lighting, safety and security, law enforcement, transportation, recreation, commercial activities and many more. In order to manage all these tasks smartly a large amount of energy is needed. Efficient energy management is essential to carry out these functions. Smart grids use IoT and several other ICT to provide better energy efficiency. Smart grids facilitate distributed generation, in which energy can be generated at any place, stored when excess energy is produced, and also connects with the other grids. This is essential for smart cities. In addition to that smart grids reduce the losses incurred in transmission and distribution of power. In smart cities, the power can be generated through solar panels, windmills, small hydro power plants, bio-gas plants, and small scale waste management plants. Besides that power consumption and power usage optimization is essential to make the smart cities sustainable. The power electronics components also consume a significant amount of power and their efficiency maters in the overall energy efficiency of the smart cities. IoT assisted power electronic components in smart grids improve the energy efficiency to a large extent. Similarly, energy demand prediction and appropriate timely action to manage the demand is essential for reliable power system operation and control. All these aspects are possible in the smart city initiatives. In fact, the smart grids are able to provide smart power management for smart cities, suburbs and even the rural areas. Power supply to end point power consumption management can be smartly and efficiently handled through the smart grids. Currently, there is no such solution available which can replace the smart grids for entire energy management of smart cities. However, it is noteworthy that there are some tough challenges when the smart grids provide the energy and other ICT based solutions to smart cities. Mainly, the security aspects are crucial. The smart grids must be protected from the cyber attacks to avoid the large scale failures in the smart cities. Backup solutions and services based on ICT and IoT must be kept in place to handle such emergencies in the smart grids and smart cities.
- K. Giesler, “The Relationship Between Smart Grids and Smart Cities,” IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter, 2013. [Online]. Available: https://smartgrid.ieee.org/resources?catid=0&id=223 (last accessed on: 15 Jan 2022).
- S. K. Routray, A. Javali, D. Gopal, L. Sharma, K. P. Sharmila, and A. Sahoo, “IoT based Microgrid for Rural Electrification,” in Proc. of IEEE International Conference on IoT in Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (I-SMAC), pp. 275-279, Nov. 2021.
- S. K. Routray, A. Javali, A. Sahoo, L. Sharma, K. P. Sharmila, and A. D. Ghosh, “IoT Assisted Power Electronics for Modern Power Systems,” in Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Inventive Research in Computing Applications (ICIRCA), pp. 17-21, Sep. 2021.
This article edited by Gabriel Ordoñez.