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Unformatted text preview: Q UA R T E R L Y R E V I E W N o. 3 8 / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 23 2 Smart Grid as New Big Opportunity of Information and Communication Technology Kazuyoshi H IDAKA Affiliated Fellow Introduction The next generation power supply system, holding the promise of gaining higher reliability, lower cost, and reduction of load on the environment by utilizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), is often referred to as the Smart Grid. The smart grid may have a greater signifi cance if viewed as an arena for the next stage of developments in ICT industries, providing a new social and economic infrastructure. Major differences between the conventional electric power system and the smart grid are shown in Fig. 1.1,  The conventional electric power system consists of three components: generation (concentrated fire/water/atomic power generation), distribution (power transmission and distribution), and power consumption by the customers. The flow of electric power is unidirectional from upstream: generation, transmission, distribution, and then consumption. Advanced power systems, such as implemented in Japan, provide a fl ow of information, mainly used for detecting failures in the sections from generation to transmission. The smart grid has additional system elements, e.g. distributed power sources that utilizes renewable energy such as solar power and wind-power generation, and stored power sources. On the customer side, they not only consume electricity, but also generate and store electricity using solar photovoltaics. New vehicles with electricity generation and storage functions, as well as electricity consumption, (such as the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)) will become involved in the distribution system. Two-way fl ow of electric power and information will take place among these constituent elements. A still more importance change in the smart grid comes from electric appliances (e.g. air conditioners 1 and refrigerators) and electricity consuming artifacts such as light fixtures: all of these will be connected to the network and constitute new elements that exchange information as along with consuming electricity. In line with the global trend toward a low-carbon society, the effort to save energy has become a ubiquitous need in all areas of our activities including our personal lives, business operations, and local societies. The trend has also been giving support globally to accelerate research and development toward commercial realization of the smart grid. The reason underlying this trend is that, for social implementation of renewable energy sources (e.g. photovoltaic generation, wind-power generation) and sources expected to effect substantial reduction of CO 2 emission (i.e. PHEV), a high-level control system is needed to coordinate these new sources with conventional ones. In addition, further pursuit in saving energy requires visualization of electricity consumption, introduction of market mechanisms, and power supply control from the supply side, and all of...
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- Spring '11