Smart Grids refer to intelligent networks, in addition to electricity transmitting and distributing from large stations to final users, able to accommodate bi-directional flows, to communicate by exchanging informations on energy flows and to efficiently manage demand peaks, avoiding power cuts and reducing the load, when it is required.
This is possible by using a generation system which does not only include the presence of centralized generation connected to the large energy transmission networks, as usually, but also involves the presence of distributed generation.
A smart grid is therefore equipped with a management and communication system, able to effectively manage and secure situations where distribution networks are the aim of the energy flow reversal from peripheral nodes distributed throughout the area (distributed generation) to the center of the system.
In addition, since the production of electricity from renewable sources is not programmable, distributed generation allows an optimal management of the whole electricity system. Then, any energy surplus can be redistributed to neighbouring areas, in a dynamic and immediate way, that constantly balance generation relative to other power stations connected to the national transmission grid (centralized production).
Italy, through the proactive actions of its operators (Italy currently holds the record for spread of electronic meters, with more than 33 million equipped users), is a leader in study, experimentation, demonstration and deployment of smart grid technologies, through private enterprises, research institutes and universities.