How Smart Grid Is Enabling Grid Flexibility, Resilience Amidst COVID-19

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The grid reliability most countries enjoyed at the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak and still enjoy in the fight and management of the deadly virus has been attributed to the critical role smart grid played in the face of the pandemic.

While countries contended with the challenges thrown up by the deadly disease, especially in providing reliable power supply for hospitals to power crucial ventilators and other hospital equipment, a number of them announced plans to turn to solar to deal with the energy crisis aroused by the pandemic.

Several developing countries were confronted with the challenge of providing reliable, affordable electricity needed to keep their people connected at home and to run life-saving equipment in hospitals.

With the already erratic electricity network in most developing countries, turning to an alternative source of energy to maintain grid stability becomes expedient in the management of the global pandemic.

According to reports, the adoption of smart grid ensured grid resilience to the extent that no major grid reliability issues have been reported during the pandemic.

Globadata in its report noted that several countries reported a shift in electricity consumption patterns, with an increase in loads related to domestic air-conditioning or heating.

For instance, in Nigeria, the African Development Bank and the World Bank, in partnership with Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) unveiled its solar-related pandemic response measures.

While in Germany, the country’s pay-as-you-go solar distributor, Redavia also announced plans to provide its systems to companies in Ghana and Kenya free for six months before offering the option of signing a lease.

A senior power analyst at GlobalData, Somik Das said, “Flexibility and resilience of the grid becomes a key parameter that can ensure energy security to critical infrastructures. 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 centers, hospitals, critical healthcare facilities and essential services. Therefore, it is critical that the flexibility and resilience of the power grid is aintained to ensure energy security to critical infrastructure

“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.”

Continuing, he said that countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, and Japan are key players in the grid flexibility 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, Das said.

Peace Obi


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