In a smart grid energy is produced, consumed and stored.
Continuous measurements in the network provide detailed information about the use of electricity, i.e., when and where electricity is used. The results of the measurements are utilised in energy efficiency plans.
The load of the smart grid can be controlled as necessary. The aim is to level out peak loads by shifting network load or, for example, by switching off the heating of a single-family house for one hour during a peak load.
In the future, batteries will be used for energy storage, thus enabling the use of batteries for levelling out peak loads. Batteries are charged during off-peak times and during peak loads they supply electricity to the network.
Small-scale decentralised energy production units, such as small wind and solar power plants, can be connected to the smart grid.
The essential factor is that the smart grid allows an individual electricity user's active participation in the electricity market. In Germany, for example, solar panels generate 16,000 megawatts of energy. The surplus of this energy production is fed into the grid.
A smart grid is more secure than today's networks, and more resistant to different weather conditions.
LUT's Green Campus smart grid will be built to support research and piloting. Monitoring of electricity usage and controlling of loads will increase in the network. A wind turbine and solar panels as well as batteries for energy storage, a rechargeable hybrid car and 20 electric bikes will be connected to it. For monitoring and controlling the different functions, the systems will be connected through a communications network. The system's energy usage, energy production in its different forms and the charge status of the batteries of the electric cars will be shown on a large display in the main hall of the university. The results of the network measurements help to reduce the university's energy usage and the capacity requirements placed by loads on the network and electricity production.
The overall system is the first large-scale pilot in Finland, and it will be used in teaching and research as part of the national Smart Grid research programme.