Smart Grids

Electricity systems are of vital importance to the operation of the Internet. From large, centralized, coal-fired power plants to solar panels that dot rooftops, to transmission and distribution networks that funnel electrons to data centers and computers, electricity infrastructure is essential to powering our everyday lives and, importantly, the Internet. Colloquially and technically, we call the entirety of the electricity system “the grid.” Since the mid-1980s, engineers, economists, and policymakers have been leading actions to “modernize” electricity infrastructure by adding computerized controls, sensor networks, and digital information and communication technologies (ICTs). These “smart grids” are the outcome of retrofitting electricity infrastructures with these technologies, or making grids anew with smart technologies and digital ICTs integrated into the system. As smart grids emerge across the ...

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