Smart Energy


The Smart Energy

Reference architectures and the Smart Grid


The three greenhouse-gas emission scenarios in Figure 1 demonstrate the need to go beyond the current approaches and aggressively apply developing technologies.


The IEC believes that the power generation and consumption energy chain will need to be redesigned in order to increase efficiencies and reduce CO2 emissions in spite of increasing electricity generation and use.


The efficient implementation of this new energy chain will depend on reference architectures, that bring together all the individual parts and all corresponding implementation steps, taking into account the overall design and all the individual elements. It is basically a systems perspective put into practice.


The power generation reference architecture will need to integrate high capacity base-load generation (hydro, nuclear and fossil fuels) that will continue to play a key role in the production of electricity, with  decentralized low-capacity generation involving a large number of installations, and intermittent generation from renewable energy sources.


High-performance and flexible interconnections will be needed among the large networks, as well as between these and the small networks. The resulting optimal power grid is widely dubbed the Smart Grid. It incorporates information and communications technologies that permit intelligent control of the system - for example smart metering - and advanced control and protection systems to ensure stability in fluctuating conditions. Consumers will supply as well as use information on availability and price.


Issues raised by the future energy chain, which need to be addressed through architectures and innovative technologies, include: the balancing of demand and generation, centralized and distributed; power quality, e.g. voltage fluctuations; prevention of overload conditions which can lead to massive breakdowns; and coordination of control systems between the utilities’ grid and decentralized generation.


A precondition for the massive investment and successful deployment of Smart Grids is substantial worldwide agreement on the “what, where, when and why”. The systems approach will only work if there is a coherent global approach—the overall objective is a global one; many of the systems need to involve several countries; development of the required innovations will often need the scale of global markets to justify the risk and up-front cost; the component technologies need to interwork to enable systems approaches in the first place.


This is where standards come in.