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In today‘s highly technological world, the generation and delivery of electricity is vital to all global economic sectors. Today‘s electricity generation and transmission infrastructures largely require fossil fuels and are relatively inefficient. As a result, electricity accounts for a significant share of the carbon emissions generated by energy consumption. Smart grids—in which computers and other technologies are used to intelligently integrate the generation, transmission, and consumption of electricity—have the potential to greatly improve the efficiency of this vital energy source.
For example, smart grids technologies could enable load leveling of the electrical grid, allowing a power company to run cleaner power sources—such as hydroelectric, wind, or solar—reducing the need to use carbon-emitting gas, coal, or oil plants to meet peak demand. Reducing variability in demand could also reduce the number of new power plants that need to be constructed.
Implementing smart grids technologies does not allow a "one size fits all" approach. Each smart grid encompasses a diverse spectrum of technologies, applications, and solutions that can vary by country, regional characteristics, and stakeholder drivers. While individual countries will face unique challenges in deploying smart grids technologies, common challenges can be overcome through global coordination and cooperation.