Smart electricity grids are power networks optimised through the inclusion of devices, software and services that allow bidirectional real-time communication among network users (both suppliers and consumers) and network components. This enables electricity demand to be adjusted to match the instantaneous generation and storage capacities available on the grid – in other words, it smoothens demand peaks. Smart electricity grids are an integral part of the smart city concept because of their great potential to improve urban energy efficiency.
Important components of smart grids are systems collectively called advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) which measures, collects and analyses energy usage, and communicates with metering devices (“smart meters”), either on request or on a schedule. These systems include customer associated systems (hardware), meter data management (MDM) software, and supplier business systems – all connected within a communication network to enable collection and distribution of information to customers, suppliers, grids operators, utility companies and service providers. Smart meters with limited capabilities are currently being implemented among households, and smart grids have been demonstrated in various locations. Smart electricity grid deployment is integrated with urban planning.
The smart electricity grids are embedded in the smart city concept due to their high level of potential synergies with technical solutions enabling increased energy efficiency in the city system, based on improvements in the communication network managing the demand side.