What makes the grid “smart” is the application of digital, cyber infrastructure working with the physical system to perform the functions of sensing, communications, control, computing, and data and information management to inform planning and operations.

The recently released Smart Grid System Report conveys the status of smart grid deployments across the Nation, the capabilities they provide, and the challenges remaining as we move forward to modernizing the electric grid. The report examines technological and institutional trends and related deployment challenges with key findings and recommendations that include: 

  • A variety of distributed energy resources, often not owned by the utility, shifts the operational paradigm from one of control to one of control and coordination;
  • Grid modernization is an essential component of an integrated planning process;
  • A whole-systems approach to resilience planning is needed to inform smart grid investments;
  • Managing cyber risks is key to enabling the smart grid; and
  • Achieving plug-and-play interoperability will remain a challenging and long-term task.

As the grid evolves, we will need to build out an electric platform that will ensure an ability to improve aspects such as resilience, security, efficiency, and affordability while addressing uncertainty for future technological options and changing customer preferences and policies.

Read the Smart Grid System Report to get a detailed look at the technological and institutional trends and related challenges associated with deploying the smart grid.