Smart Grids: Opportunities for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

2019-10-29T08:49:10Z (GMT) by Rosemary Lyster
This article assesses the contribution which the Smart Grid can make to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Smart Grid amalgamates information and communications technology (‘ICT’) and electrical capabilities to improve flexibility, security, reliability, efficiency, and the safety of the electricity system. Demand side management (‘DSM’) is increased as consumers gain better control over their electricity use and respond to prices. At the same time, a smart grid includes diverse and distributed energy resources, including energy storage, and accommodates electric vehicle charging. Although much of the literature to date assesses the interface between the Smart Grid and climate change mitigation, there is barely any mention of the adaptation benefits emanating from Smart Grid technology. If the Smart Grid improves efficiency and DSM and encourages distributed energy sources its mitigation benefits are clear. Yet the fragility of electricity networks to climate change impacts suggests that the Smart Grid might also assist utilities to respond to blackouts, and other climate change induced crises, more effectively than is currently possible. The article also assesses the regulatory consequences which are attendant upon the adoption of a Smart Grid in Australia.

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