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Smart grids in developed countries have, so far, ensured grid resilience successfully to the extent that no major grid reliability issues have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to research company GlobalData, several countries reported a shift in electricity consumption patterns, with an increase in loads related to domestic air-conditioning or heating, a decline in demand from electric vehicle charging stations, and flattening of the peak demand. The flexibility of the grid can better manage such demand shifts.

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Countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, and Japan are key players in this grid network market. There are no considerable delays reported in the execution of the pilot projects in these countries due to COVID-19.

However, countries that planned to introduce grid flexibility projects in the first half of the year might have to wait for the crisis to ease.

Grid flexibility during lockdown

Somik Das, a senior power analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Flexibility and resilience of the grid become a key parameter that can ensure energy security to critical infrastructures.”

The senior power analyst advised that, although it is highly unlikely that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to blackouts, natural calamities such as hurricanes, wildfires and extensive rainfall would cause major outages and worsen the situation at emergency response centres, hospitals, critical healthcare facilities and essential services.

Therefore, Das cautions that it is critical that the flexibility and resilience of the power grid are attained to ensure energy security to critical infrastructures.

Das added: “Furthermore, smart grid facilitates grid flexibility as it includes a broad mix of technologies that enhance the automation, control and measurement of the grid infrastructure. High grid flexibility increases operational effectiveness and resilience of the grid.”