Smart grid is an umbrella term used to describe new energy grid technologies that provide utilities, grid operators, and energy consumers with real time information on energy use and the ability to automatically manage energy supply and demand.
For example, advanced smart grids allow energy firms to reduce pressure on the grid by automatically turning off non-essential appliances, such as washing machines or electric car rechargers, during periods of peak demand.
The technology also provides energy users with real time information on how much power they are using at a given time, and enables grid operators to more easily draw on energy from micro-generation technologies, such as solar panels or small wind turbines.
Also known as the "energy internet", smart grids are widely regarded as essential to improving energy efficiency and supporting the roll out of electric cars and micro-generation technologies.
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