Smart grids can play an important role in addressing increasingly untenable economic, environmental, and social trends in the supply and use of energy. By enabling increased awareness of system operation and better informed participation by electricity users, smart grids will increase electricity end-use efficiency while optimising network asset utilisation and increasing grid resiliency. They will also enable efficient integration of variable renewables and electric vehicles, as well as new products and services. This roadmap provides a consensus view from more than 200 government, industry, academia and consumer representatives on the current status of smart grid technologies, and charts a course for expanding their use from today to 2050.
Smart grids co-ordinate the needs and capabilities of all generators, grid operators, end-users and electricity market stakeholders. This allows the grid system to operate as efficiently as possible, minimising costs and environmental impacts while maximising system reliability, resilience and stability. Smart grids accomplish this optimisation by using digital and other advanced technologies to monitor and manage the transport of electricity from all generation sources to meet the varying electricity demands of end users. These technologies are essential if the global community is to achieve shared goals for energy security, economic development and climate change mitigation.
Unfortunately, existing misunderstandings of both what smart grids are and the physical and institutional complexity of electricity systems make it difficult to implement smart grids on the scale that is needed. This roadmap sets out specific steps and describes the milestones that will allow smart grids to help deliver a clean energy future over the coming years.