Enhancing the societal impact of smart grids

Posted by Matias Almeida Garzon

by Matias Almeida Garzon

Sustainable development goals require the development of a more holistic view of the interactions between technology and society. As the restructuring of power grids continues through the integration of smart grids, this paradigm change also produces repercussions requiring new market, social and services processes.

ESGRIDS, an independent research group published a paper analysing the potential societal impacts of smart grids with low technology readiness levels (TRL). The goal is to generate a more realistic picture of the technology's potential impact as it is deployed further.

The importance of the initiative lies in formulating precise roadmaps to be used as a guideline throughout the development of this technology. This solution represents a viable option considering the higher role that customers will play in the supply chain.

The research team conducted a survey of industry experts using a questionnaire based on three pillars :
The selection of the most relevant technologies developed by research teams based on the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) framework.
A ranking of social, environmental, economic, and technical performance indicators.
Identifying constraints and possible societal contributions linked with developing technology.

Results highlight that societal performance measures were deemed less important than economic, environmental, and technical indicators due to their low maturity and technological barriers. Nevertheless, the caveat is that the interviewees' individual views and organisational circumstances influenced the rating results.

Following the research findings, the societal impact will gain higher relevance as the TRL value increases as the development and implementation of smart grid technology continues in the future. In this context, Smart Grid Forums is committed to supporting energy operators by providing highly specialised conferences about the latest technology applications in the market. IEC Week represents an extraordinary opportunity for engineers to improve their knowledge of IEC standards for interoperability communications, cybersecurity systems and common information models.

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