As our power grid becomes more modernized, there are concerns about how the huge amount of data collected will be used. Big Data will grow exponentially as part of the smart grid.

Since the smart grid is always “on” providing power to consumers, it is constantly generating large amount of data. This data must be stored, organized and protected. Cybersecurity is a big concern, and defenses must be placed onto devices and networks to help thwart attacks. Another concern of using a smart grid is that it will use increasing amounts of energy in order to collect and store the data. Keeping carbon emissions low is important when it comes to Big Data.

Other challenges surrounding data collected from the grid is ownership and the rights of all the stakeholders. Who owns the data collected and what levels of privacy can be expected by consumers? The stakeholders include producers/generators, transmission and distribution entities, consumers, and regulators. They all have different needs and uses for the data collected. Producers/generators would use data analytics to forecast the demand for power, while transmission and distribution entities use the analytics to identify possible outages in power. Consumers will want more affordable energy and lower bills  for the use of their data and regulators will use the analytics to monitor compliance.

When it comes to the increased usage of smart grids, harnessing and controlling the power of Big Data can bring big challenges.

 

Written by IEEE on June 16, 2017