Smart Grid and IoT for Sustainable Smart Cities: Potential, Applications and Future Research Directions

Written by Geetika Aggarwal, Maher Al-Greer, and Maria Jenisha Charles Thanasingh Packiaraj

In recent years, advancements in technology have resulted in the development of smart cities, equipped with several wireless and electronic devices such as sensors, actuators, microcontrollers based on the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.. The Smart Grid is a two-way communication of electric demand through digital technologies and IoTs. According to recent surveys, it is predicted that by 2030, more than 60% of the human population will live in urban areas. In view of potential global energy crises and the rising cost of living, it is paramount to provide a sustainable and optimal IoT-based infrastructure in smart cities based on Smart Grid. This article lists the potential applications of IoT and Smart Grid in smart cities, highlighting the benefits for the citizens and the community.

Potential and Future Research Opportunities

Smart cities are entirely dependent on the smart grid. Smart grids revolutionize the existing power systems, provide cost-effective autonomous decisions, and empower the secure integration of renewable and distributed resources of energy. This provides the sustainable infrastructure that is essential for a smart city [1]. For example, energy consumed by water utilities is highest in cities. However, higher efficiencies can be easily achieved by understanding the peak hours of energy consumption through smart grid and IoT, thereby moving water pumping to some of the non-peak hours to avoid uninterrupted water supply, especially to hospitals. With smart sensors and two-way communication amongst demand/supply through smart grid and smart rainwater harvesting IoT systems, smart cities can significantly improve efficiency and reduce costs in their waste and water management solutions [1,2]. As per the International Energy Agency (IEA), the smart grid and IoT are crucial for smart cities in ensuring a safe, secure, reliable, and clean future, as they can be used to monitor things like street lighting, substations, transmission lines, and premature and untimely information about extreme weather conditions (such as power/electric failure due to earthquakes) by deploying sensors and smart meters. The solution to the lack of robustness and energy efficiency in current systems is the integration of smart grid and IoT technologies, as these technologies allow two-way communication amongst the devices that are interconnected and then acknowledge/reply to the demand of end users/consumers [2,3]. Some areas with immense potential and future research opportunities for smart grid/ IoT technologies within smart cities are mentioned below. The full article will discuss these advancements in detail.


Energy Efficiency or Smarter Use of Energy

Smart grid and IoT technologies will significantly help reduce the consumption of energy through data management and green communication, as intelligent and smart lighting will be used to monitor energy usage easily, and weather adaptions can be done immediately to meet the demands of consumers [4-6].


Cleaner Future or Cleaner Energy Use

Renewable energy resources and green communication through smart grid IoT technologies (such as solar cells, microgrids, automation systems, and offshore wind turbines) will play a vital role in a clean future, as they produce less carbon dioxide emissions, they are much more fuel efficient, and they are less demanding on batteries [5,6].


Smart Transportation

The net-zero transmission discussion at COP26, Glasgow, aims at moving towards renewable and sustainable resources to reduce environmental emissions [7]. With the shift towards electric vehicles and hydrogen-related fuels, IoT technology such as smart sensors, alongside smart grid, will be helpful in providing immediate access to charging stations by collecting real-time data about traffic congestion and peak hour availability [7,8].


Smart Agriculture

In order to meet the growing needs of food production, the worldwide deployment of IoT technologies (such as wireless sensor networks, using Artificial Intelligence) is the future of the agriculture industry. IoT technologies will significantly improve the detection of crop pests, diseases, etc. while raising the quality of produce [9].


Smart Healthcare

In recent years, technological improvements have improved healthcare quality. The deployment of IoT and smart grid has shifted the industry towards digital health, e-health, m-health, and better diagnostics [10].
The use of IoT Technologies and smart grid in smart cities reduces the time and effort needed for monitoring and controlling systems. These technologies are beneficial in finding solutions to existing global challenges such as energy crises, food shortages, and rising costs of living through proper resource management and waste minimization.


Conclusion and Recommendations

This article summarizes the potential of smart grid and IoT  (such as wireless sensor networks and light Fidelity (Li-Fi)) integration in smart cities, as well as the future research directions in this area. Smarter cities are built on smarter infrastructure. The smart grid allows organizations to improve efficiency while creating more sustainable cities everywhere. Since all devices will be connected through the internet, security and data protection is essential in smart cities using smart grid IoT technology in order to prevent theft and loss of data. Within the establishment of smart infrastructure, changes and reforms will require proper training and knowledge so that security and data are not compromised. If smart grid IoT technologies are implemented in a robust manner, the economy of the country will be enhanced, which will attract global investors.


Keywords: Smart Cities, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Grid and Sustainability



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  8. G. Aggarwal, A. Khatri and H. Chander, “Khatri, A., Aggarwal, G., Khatri, V., & Chander, “A Trend in Smart Charging, Vehicle-to-Grid and Route Mapping. Secure and Digitalized Future Mobility: Shaping the Ground and Air Vehicles Cooperation, 211,” Nov 2022
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To view all articles in this issue, please go to November 2023 eNewsletter. For a downloadable copy, please visit the IEEE Smart Cities Resource Center.

geetika aggarwal
Geetika Aggarwal is a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the Teesside University School of Computing, Engineering, and Digital Technologies. Prior to joining Teesside University in November 2022, Dr. Geetika worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher (Nov 2019 - Oct 2022) at Nottingham Trent University, England, UK, working on the Horizon 2020 Clean Sky EU project. Dr. Geetika completed her Ph.D. in Electronics Engineering at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK (Oct 2015- Oct 2019). She has won the ‘Outstanding Staff Member Award 2019’ within the Faculty of Engineering and Environment in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She is a 'Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). She is also an Executive Committee Member of IET Teesside Local Network. Dr. Geetika’s research interests include the Internet of Things (IoT), Automation in Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication, Smart Cars, Micro-Grids, Wireless Sensor Networks, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

maher al greer
Maher Al-Greer is an Associate Professor of Power Conversion, Energy Informatics, and Control within the Engineering Department of Teesside University’s School of Computing, Engineering, and Digital Technologies. He is also a leader of the Smart Energy Management Conversion and Control Research Group within the Centre for Sustainable Engineering at Teesside University. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Advanced Control of Power Electronic Converters from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K, in 2012. In August 2017, Dr. Maher joined Teesside University as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2019, and he is currently an Associate Professor and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Dr. Maher’s research focuses on battery management systems and power electronic converters across a wide range of applications, including micro-mobilities, automotive, power grids, and mobile consumers.

maria jenisha charles thanasingh packiaraj
Maria Jenisha Charles Thanasingh Packiaraj joined Teesside University on 24 October 2022 as a Lecturer of Electrical/Mechanical Engineering within the Engineering Department of the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies. Dr Jenisha completed her Ph.D. in Power Electronics and Renewable Energy Systems in India. Her research was in the combination of both system modeling and real-time implementation of working systems. Her Expertise is in Renewable Energy Systems, Smart Grid, and Energy Management. Dr. Jenisha’s research interests include Renewable Energy Management Systems, Smart Grids/Micro-Grids, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Past Issues

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