Smart grids are bidirectional electrical networks, which use digital technology to support its management and operation. They are designated as "smart" because they offer innovative solutions to traditional problems in electrical networks. An intelligent network system allows you to, for example, detect faults, manage distributed energy power or reduce service interruption time, remotely and in almost real time.
Conventional power grids typically have big production centers that generate power that flows to the consumers connected at lower tension levels. This configuration generates an unidirectional flow of energy that goes from the big production centers to the final consumers.
In a context of decentralization of energy production (through renewable production) where even the final consumer can produce energy (using photovoltaic panels, for example), energy can flow from high to low tension and vice-versa. We have, thus, bidirectional grids, where the energy flows in two different directions. This brings a new grid configuration that incorporates new equipment to a new use of the grid.
The growing need for energy optimization and new power management models, which are more efficient and supply power more reliably, is changing the way customers interact with power grids. In 2007 and as a response to this new era of energy, EDP started the development of a pioneering and ambitious project: the InovGrid, a case study in Europe. Through the introduction of innovative equipment, InovGrid allowed the development of new concepts:
Enables the maximization of energy production and optimization of public lighting systems and supply, since the consumer also turns into a producer and master of energy.
An innovative concept that allows you to remotely monitor energy consumption in your home and thus manage it more effectively.
In practice, InovGrid's technological innovation has been implemented through InovCity, a project that allowed EDP to introduce the concept of 'smart cities' in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. The successful experience started in Évora and has already expanded to other Portuguese cities, such as Guimarães, Lamego and Marinha Grande. It is also being implemented in the city of Pola del Sierro, Asturias, Spain and the city of Aparecida, in the State of São Paulo and in Domingos Martins and Marechal Floriano, in the state of Espírito Santo in Brazil.
Évora was the first city to take advantage of an integrated and intelligent electrical system in Portugal. The trial included 54,000 inhabitants, and 340 controllers of transformer stations and more than 30,000 smart counters have been installed.