Smart Grids: what is this innovation in electric energy distribution and how does it work

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​​​​​​​​Smart Grids are composed of a series of automations and technologies that aim, mainly, to provide safety, convenience and sustainability to the energy supply.

New models of electrical consumption require more modern and complex distribution networks. Bidirectionality, flexibility, digitization and automation are some of the characteristics of Smart Grids that enable a new energy model that responds to the needs of energy users and producers. By enabling the large-scale use of renewable energies, Smart Grids are a fundamental pillar for the energy transition. 

What are Smart Grids?

Smart Grids are electrical grids that can integrate, intelligently and dynamically, the actions of all users connected to them — those generating energy, those who consuming it, or those who do both — in order to supply energy, on a sustainable, economical and safe basis. (Source: Iberdrola)

The distinguishing feature of Smart Grids is that they incorporate digital transformation to enable bidirectionality of energy and information. This is done thanks to a high level of automation that responds to complex needs and potential incidents in just a few seconds.

How does a Smart Grid work?

Smart Grids are composed of a series of automations and technologies that aim, mainly, to provide safety, convenience and sustainability to the energy supply. Check some of them:



Smart Grids have bidirectional energy flow capability. In other words, is a network that can either bring power to a facility, or distribute the power generated by the facility's solar panels or other generators. For this, energy must pass through the smart meter, a bidirectional meter. For example, if a building has solar panels producing more energy than it consumes, the surplus is redistributed to other locations.


Historically, energy consumption peaks occur at night. However, the periods with highest generation are during the day. A great distinguishing feature of Smart Grids is the energy bank, which allows the storage of large loads of energy for a few hours.


Self-Healing is a system that identifies and corrects, in just a few seconds, possible failures in energy supply, usually caused by trees, storms or animals. The moment a fault is detected, the network segment is isolated, and alternatives are activated to enable energy to reach the affected customer by other routes.

What are the benefits of Smart Grid for consumers?

With smart meters, consumers are able to closely monitor their consumption in real time. In addition, Smart Grids make the grid a two-way street, allowing consumers to move from being mere receivers of energy to being small producers, if they have generators.

Not to mention the safety and convenience provided by reduced interruptions due to problems in the networks caused by external factors.

World reference in Smart Grids

Iberdrola group, of which Neoenergia is a part, wants to remain at the forefront of the energy transition by developing new business and technological models in distribution networks. With the creation of the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, the group intends to double the number of innovation projects in smart grids.  To this end, Iberdrola Group has identified more than 120 projects for development, amounting to 110 million euros, and has reached agreements with 30 technology partners for the development of solutions for network digitization, integration of renewable energies, implementation of the electric vehicle and systems of energy storage.

Neoenergia: investing in sustainable development in Brazil

Investments in automation, innovation and smart grids have led the four Neoenergia's concessionaries – Neoenergia Coelba (BA), Neoenergia Pernambuco (PE), Neoenergia Cosern (RN), Neoenergia Elektro (SP/MS) and Neoenergia Distribuição Brasília (DF) – to reduce the number of interruptions in the energy supply.

All of the Company's distributors achieved levels below the limits set by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) for the quality indicators that measure the average frequency of outages (FEC, in the acronym in Portuguese, measured in times) and the average duration of outages (DEC, measured in hours).

The company also created the Smart Grid Management Center (Cegri), a place that manages all telecommunications and smart grid operations of Neoenergia distributors, in addition to monitoring digital equipment used in power grid operations, such as reclosers, meters, sensors and smart transformers. Cegri monitors over 75,000 devices and collects data reaching 10 gigabytes a day. The algorithm transforms data into information to contribute to decision making.

Neoenergia's Smart Grids project was recognized as an example of pioneering technology and innovation in the energy sector by being granted the Whow! Award of Innovation 2019. Learn more on the company's main initiatives on the theme:

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