How Smart Tech is Helping the Development of Smart Grids

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Whether you rent a property or are established as a home-owner, the chances are that you’re familiar with the concept of smart technology. This has revolutionised the way in which people manage their homes, with smart thermostats that can be set remotely and app-controlled lighting among the most popular applications.

Smart technology is evolving at a significant pace too, with customers having a significant influence on the innovations of the future. According to a recent survey by RecycleZone, for example, around 46% of respondents are pushing for a highly evolved smart thermostat that adjusts intuitively according to an individual’s body temperature.

The reach of smart technology extends far beyond the home, however, as it is currently helping with the development of connected power grids in Yorkshire. In this post, we’ll explore this further while asking how smart grids are likely to impact on the energy sector in the north of the UK.

What is Smart Technology?

In this instance, the term “smart” is actually an acronym for “self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology”. It’s origins can be traced back to hardware, as rudimentary smart tech was used to analyse the performance of computer hard drives while highlighting any potential problems or health issues.

This broad technology has since been applied across a host of commercial and residential applications, including intuitive home heating and security systems. Through the use of sensors and wireless connectivity, these systems can be controlled remotely through a single app or interface on a smart device (such as a mobile phone or tablet).

This type of technology essentially connects smart devices with an accessible network, while it’s also driving the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT leverages smart technology and devices in a scalable and upgradable way, creating greater connectivity between the physical and the virtual worlds while also laying the foundation for intuitive cities and factories.

How is Smart Tech Creating New Power Grids in Yorkshire?

In one of the most recent developments, a power distribution company has pledged to spend £83 million on creating a so-called smart grid throughout the northern county of Yorkshire.

The reason for this is simple; as this grid will be far more capable of managing the complex energy flows that will be generated by the rapid growth of electric vehicles and domestic heat pumps.

While a smart grid will help to boost efficiency and reduce waste, the question that remains is how will it work? In simple terms, it will use remote telemetry units (RTUs) to communicate real-time data and connect distributed energy sources to a grid control point or central management system.

Known as an RTU, this type of unit is secure and capable of collating huge swathes of data even in the harshest of environments, which in turn will enable Yorkshire power companies to control decentralised power facilities through a smart grid and a single accessible location.

For now, electricity sub-stations in towns such as Malton are set to be upgraded with automatic voltage control systems, with others likely to follow suit in the near-term.

Ultimately, the hope is that smart grids will be rolled out throughout the UK, in a bid to create more efficient and cost-effective energy management systems nationwide.

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