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It is a truism that in the architecture of the old transmission system fault tolerance is achieved by redundancy which is only matched by a less fault tolerant distribution side. Frequent outages are becoming every where more of a rule rather than an exception. The Ultimate Smart Grid in this context becomes a vision for the future. As per EPRI estimate there is a preponderating 4 to 1 benefit from a changeover to smart grids . Whereas the 21st century world is in dire need, of digital quality power supply, with Flexible AC Transmission systems [FACTS] and/or superconducting synchronous condensers capable of providing instantaneous voltage support to reduce the sags, and super conducting fault current limiters to correct the depressions created by transmission-system-faults, in combination with synchronous switching to take care of transient over-voltages, at the transmission level, high speed transfer switches capable of removing disturbed sources and replacing them with clean back up supplies and an array of innovations like dynamic voltage restorers , DER[Distributed Energy Resource] and micro grids to provide voltage support buffering are needed at the distribution side of electric power infrastructure, it is a fact that the current obsolescent electrical infrastructure remains deplorably bogged down by an antiquated mid-20th century technology. One of the most fundamental of electric functions is getting electricity from the point of generation to the point of use and today's need is to make the transition from the distribution system of today to the grid of the future, Smart energy is the application of digital information technology to optimize electrical power system and SG is the product of smart energy technology to electrical power delivery and generation. Smart energy technologies are going to transform the power network into a SG capable of meeting 21st century economic, energy security, reliability and integrating these two p- ime requirements with renewable energy sources. To that end, the conventional grids which are by today's standards almost obsolete , have to be reshaped and re-engineered to include digital enhancements appropriate for the vision of a Smart Grid. The realization of smart grid will involve integration of new technologies at all levels of grid operation and control. Such a concept of Smart grid transformation would improve overall energy efficiency by implementing intelligent and advanced control functions that would enable greater interaction between grid and the consumer. This paper outlines in a nutshell the concept & characteristics of smart grid with emphasis on various key aspects involved in the modernization of the present day electric grid with respect to generation, transmission and distribution in addition to the new challenges, and requirements.
Date of Conference: 19-21 July 2012