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The modernization of the current power grid has brought forward many requirements in order to make possible the vision of a smarter grid. This paper presents these challenges and the current achievements in order to aid in its transformation. It identifies developing applications within the power network; from centralized generation to distribution in terms of power electronics, power systems, and communications. A summary of the current undergoing studies in a lab setting geared towards solving the needs of the smart grid is described. Furthermore, a case study which emphasizes the communication, control, and simulation aspects for the smart grid is expressed and results are displayed in detail.