Electricity is a necessity for virtually all aspects of modern life, be it for domestic or industrial use. As we enter a new decade, our demand for electricity is only set to increase, and the way we distribute electricity will also change.
Various organisations and governments worldwide - including Australia - have already adopted smart grids. In order to adapt to the changing nature of electricity supply, electricians will need to be equipped and learn as much as possible about smart grids.
In light of this, let’s take a look at what a smart grid encompasses and what future electricians will need to know to work on them.
What Is A Smart Microgrid?
A smart microgrid integrates computer technology into a standard electricity grid, which allows for a two-way flow of electricity and data. This enables operators to quickly detect and react to issues and changes in electricity usage.
With a constant stream of data from the grid, companies can anticipate power outages and fix any issues before they affect customers. The use of this data-driven system also makes it possible for smart microgrids to exist.
Microgrids are decentralised power supply grids. Organisations, communities and even individuals can use microgrids for their energy needs. They generally use renewable energy such as solar and wind, and use data to better monitor their power supply level and consumption.
The Benefits Of Smart Grids
Smart micorgrids have enormous benefits for the distribution and management of electricity such as;
- Smart grids can better manage renewable energy systems which are inherently irregular. For example, they can smooth out the power supply throughout the day, even when there’s not enough sunlight or wind to generate energy.
- Due to improved network monitoring and infrastructure, smart grids can prevent outages and reduce energy cost.
- With smart meters, consumers including households, can get real-time information so they can better manage their energy use. They can even control their smart home appliances with internet of things (IoT) technology to operate during off-peak hours and take advantage of lower rates.
Essential Training For Smart Grids
Smart grids can greatly improve our electricity supply system, and the future electrician needs to be prepared to work on smart grids. Below are some examples of the types of training required in order to work with smart grids:
- Learning about the different control approaches, the energy management system (EMS) and the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).
- Other than training in the core electrical competencies, you also need to acquire skills in renewable energy, information technology, communications, programming and automation for homes and industries.
- With smart homes becoming the norm, the importance of learning to work with IoT technology in all aspects including installation, commission, and servicing - will be crucial.
- Understanding IoT and industry 4.0 concepts whilst learning to set up computing and communications equipment, smart meters and cabling.
- Learning how to monitor data from a smart grid and run diagnostics to understand a complex electrical system.
- Learning about the main concepts and components in a smart grid. These components include distributed energy resources (DER), solar panels and inverters, wind farms and smart meters.
Smart grids are data-driven systems providing a range of advantages over a traditional power supply grid. As our electricity systems evolve towards smart grids, the future electrician needs to be prepared and equipped to adequately manage such systems.
Prepare yourself and be on the front-foot relating to smart grids and its core technologies. At CET our Cert IV Instrumentation course will show you how to program complex monitoring systems. Whilst our ACMA Open Cabling course and its related endorsement courses, CAT5/6/Coax and Fibre Optics, will also set you up for further studies within these emerging fields.
For more information about smart micorgrids and related courses, get in touch with us today.