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California mandates smart grid support for everyone

By Donna Donnowitz
April 3, 2014

California is proposing a new smart grid-related regulation that would require all new or retrofitted utility systems to incorporate smart meters and controllers for increased energy efficiency.

According to Greentech Media, the state may mandate OpenADR thermostats, networked lighting, smarter HVAC systems and building automation controllers in an effort to support smart grid growth and enable utility-to-customer energy management. The effort will kick off in June, 2014, as part of the Title 24 building code revision, and is focused primarily on demand response capability.

"The path forward should include alternatives to the utility-centric model of program delivery that can create new participation opportunities for customers who have not been interested in the utility offerings," the California Energy Commission noted in its 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report.

The commission has been working on a new standard for utility-to-building IT networks, in conjunction with Berkeley Labs - Open ADR. This project is focused on the transmission of data between the building and the provider, and keeping the cost of such systems low in order to facilitate swift deployment and improvement of the energy market.

The changes in California are innovative, but shouldn't come as a surprising move to utility providers. As consumers begin to expect increased focus on green efforts, renewable energy sources and improved demand response, smart grid technologies are going to focus on meeting these expectations. What utilities do need to concern themselves with is supporting the new hardware they will need to invest in to meet these trends.

By deploying improved serial to Ethernet converters, terminal servers and related networking hardware, utilities will be able to support the communications necessary for smart grid growth and the inclusion of these new control systems in buildings. Furthermore, these tools will enhance smart grid communications, enabling growth while delivering increased performance to customers.

Facilitating the flow of data is critical for smart grid efficiency, and the right serial server solutions will support utility needs. Investing now will prepare their networks for the coming changes and allow providers to keep up with trends more easily.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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