Plan to Establish Smart Power Grid

Plan to Establish Smart Power GridPlan to Establish Smart Power Grid

Iran needs to increase its power plant capacity by 30,000 megawatts by 2021, managing director of Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) said on Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate the mountain modular 132-kilovolt substation in Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, Arash Kordi added that Iran's electricity industry can experience development as soon as the national electrical grid—the interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers—is made smart, Shana reported.

Underscoring that more than 97% of the mountain substation's equipment is designed and manufactured by domestic experts, he said, "We have achieved major breakthroughs in making hardware equipment in this industry. Moreover, converting the national grid to a smart one tops our operational agenda".

Kordi noted that domestic experts have been working on making the national grid a "smart" one for four years and several projects have been undertaken.

What makes a grid smart is the digital technology that allows for two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and the sensing along the transmission lines.

According to Kordi, benefits associated with the smart grid are more efficient transmission of electricity, quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances and reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates.

"Given the ongoing rise in consumption, witnessing a 5.5% increase during the last 10 years, 5,000 MW of electricity should have been added to the national grid annually, only 1/3 of which has been realized," he said.

Referring to Iran's nominal power generation capacity, standing at around 73,000, the official said 400 new substations are required to be added to the national grid in six years whose completion will be feasible only if the grid is made smart.

A smart grid represents an unprecedented opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of reliability, availability and efficiency that will contribute to economic and environmental health.

Kordi believes that designing the distributed control system, aka DCS, wherein control elements are distributed throughout the system and not at a central location, by Khorasan Razavi Electric Distribution Company, in addition to SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), a system for remote control that operates with coded signals over communication channels, were major steps to help the national grid become smart.

 When a power outage occurs, smart grid technologies will detect and isolate the outages, containing them before they become large-scale blackouts.