Cyber-enabled grids: Shaping future energy systems

Philip Pong, Anuradha Annaswamy, Benjamin Kroposki, Yingchen Zhang, Ram Rajagopal, Gil Zussman, H. Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


As the penetration of distributed energy resources based on renewable sources increases, several technical challenges are introduced into energy grids. These include real-time power balance, control of bi-directional energy flow, power quality, distributed optimization, state estimation and topology estimation in distribution grids, and multi-level electricity trading. To overcome these challenges and to create situational awareness in energy grids, pervasive sensing becomes essential. To overcome hurdles such as implementation and cost of such pervasive sensing, in addition to traditional contact-sensing methods, contactless sensors that can measure key variables in the grid needs to be leveraged. Contactless sensing enables measurement of process variables that may be hard to measure due to technological limitations of contact sensing, large measurement delays, or high costs. In addition to contactless sensing, pervasive sensing proves advantageous as it can leverage ongoing technological advances in Internet of Things (IoT), as they can lead to enhanced network connectivity between sensors as well as between the edge and the cloud. Finally, pervasive sensing proves even more attractive by integrating contactless sensing not only with wireless communication but also with shielding and energy harvesting. This paper reviews pervasive sensing techniques in power grids that encompass contactless sensing technologies, IoT connectivity, energy harvesting and shielding. In addition, we also explore how pervasive sensing in a Cyber-Enabled Grid (CEG) can contribute to the development roadmap of Autonomous Energy Grids (AEGs), a futuristic concept where the grid will be making automated operational decisions. The potential challenges and research opportunities in this pioneering research field such as data deluge, cybersecurity, and sensor fusion will be discussed. This review article, which addresses the role of pervasive sensing in CEGs, is a first of its kind. It will help engineers and scientists to understand its significant potential to shape future energy systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100003
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Applied Energy
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-79195


  • Contactless sensing
  • Cyber-enabled grid
  • Energy grid
  • Energy harvesting
  • Internet of things
  • Pervasive sensing
  • Shielding


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