To achieve the vision of the modern grid, a wide range of technologies must be developed and implemented.

As part of the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Smart Grid Implementation Strategy initiative, a compendium of technologies has been prepared, categorized into five Key Technology Areas (KTAs), as follows:

  • Integrated communications – High speed, fully integrated, two-way communication technologies that make the modern grid a dynamic, interactive “mega-infrastructure” for real time information and power exchange. An open architecture creates a plug-and-play environment that securely networks grid components and operators, enabling them to talk, listen and interact.
  • Advanced components – Advanced components play an active role in determining the electrical behavior of the grid. These devices apply the latest research in materials, superconductivity, energy storage, power electronics, and microelectronics to produce higher power densities, greater reliability and power quality, enhanced electrical efficiency, and improved real time diagnostics.
  • Advanced control methods – New methods and algorithms monitor power system components, enabling rapid diagnosis and timely, appropriate response to any event. They also support market pricing and enhance asset management and efficient operations.
  • Sensing and measurement –Technologies that enhance power system measurements and enable the transformation of data into information. These evaluate the health of equipment, the integrity of the grid, and support advanced protective relaying, and they enable consumer choice and demand response and help relieve congestion.
  • Improved interfaces and decision support –The modern grid will require wide, seamless, often real time use of applications and tools that enable grid operators and managers to make decisions quickly. Decision support and improved interfaces will enable more accurate and timely human decision making at all levels of the grid, including the consumer level, while also enabling more advanced operator training.

Some of the technologies are commercially available and others are still under development.

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