A new white paper from Navigant Research explores the concept of the Neural Grid, identifying the critical components expected to transform legacy infrastructure into a platform that will eventually support a fully mature Energy Cloud environment.
Today’s smart grid enhances the traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) network with pockets of automation, connectivity, and centralized IT systems. But the grid of tomorrow, the Neural Grid, represents much more than Smart Grid 2.0. According to the report, the Neural Grid is a vastly more powerful platform of hard and soft assets leveraging ubiquitous connectivity, the cloud, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, and pervasive sensing to perform a variety of energy and non-energy applications.
“In a nutshell, the Neural Grid takes the world’s largest machine—the grid—and gives it a brain,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “In this environment, data and intelligence reside largely in the cloud, managing the intersection of generation assets and distribution networks with energy customers, buildings, transportation infrastructure, city systems, distributed energy resources assets and more.”
In addition, asset ownership in the Neural Grid is diverse, and utility grid data and assets work with third-party data and assets to coordinate energy supply and demand. As the Neural Grid takes shape, the challenge for owners of legacy infrastructure will be to upgrade their networks with dynamic, intelligent, and autonomous features that enable more than the transport of electrons, supporting an open environment for new services creation.
The white paper, From Smart Grid to Neural Grid, defines the Neural Grid and identifies critical components of the ecosystem. It describes the conditions necessary for accelerated market expansion and highlights informative parallels which can be found in the telecom industry. Navigant Research also identifies the top five growth markets that stand to benefit as the smart grid investments of today transform into the Neural Grid market of the future.