Eli5 how does a smart power grid work.


Really curious how a smart power grid works is it all connected via wifi or cell service. How it can know what part of the grid is down an how it communicates this info.

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Smart grid is a generic term for active electricity management. In a dumb grid, everything is connected all the time. Every building and factory is constantly plugged in. With smart grids, you add in things like batteries and smaller power plants that can be turned on and off by people. What these allows you to do it store electricity when people aren’t using as much, then release it when people are using more.

This is great for things like wind and solar power. You charge batteries while the sun is out, then use those batteries when it’s cloudy. It’s also helpful for nuclear power. A nuclear plant produces the same level of power 24/7, but people use more electricity during certain times of the day. By charging batteries, the nuclear plant can always run at its most efficient power setting, while the batteries provide a boost to power during the day and charge when everyone is asleep.

> is it all connected via wifi or cell service

There are a varity of ways things could be connected. How it’s done would depend on things like cost, bandwidth, and reliability requirements.

Modern setups might include a fiber optic cable to carry information. Older or cheaper setups may just use the power lines themselves.

[Communication directly on the power lines](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-line_communication) has been around for a while, and is how the “Smart meters” work to communicate usage information back to the provider.