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Distributed power delivery possible with smart grid

By Donna Donnawitz
February 28, 2013

A funny thing happens if you look at the cycle of industry - you notice that all of the patterns seem to repeat themselves over and over again. This is especially true when it comes to ways to either distribute or consolidate resources. At one timeall the talk could be about consolidation.Technology makes consolidation work. If you create a few massive and extremely powerful facilities they will do the work that would otherwise be done in a bunch of places, making life easier for everybody. The next generation some new problems and solutions arise and everybody starts talking about how dispersed architectures make much more sense because resources can be distributed more efficiently. The energy grid is among a similar transition.

According to a recent report from The Energy Collective, smart grid solutions are providing the technology necessary to make new distributed power architectures possible.

Considering a distributed power generation system
Currently, most utility grids are fairly simple. Some company will create a giant power plant, utility providers plug into it and all of the power comes from that site. It makes a lot of sense fora grid that doesn't feature any communications systems that allow for real-time data transit. However, the consolidated setup also limits the use of renewable resources and creates some negative economic consequences.

The news source explained that the rise of smart grid technologies presents the utility industry with potential economic models that not only breed efficiency, but also create new revenue opportunities. This process of making this future vision for distributed energy could be made more possible as fiscal and financing models evolve in the sector and more opportunities for innovation emerge.

Terminal servers essential in distributed energy setup
In theory, a distributed powergeneration setup would feature a combination of traditional power generation sites and renewable resources that can all be integrated. Ideally, a wind farm with a large storage battery could connect with solar panels that also use energy storage technologies and these renewable energy sources could also attach to the utility grid. As a result, utility providers can analyze how much power is being generated at each site and strategically purchase electricity based on expected demand at any time. All of this is made possible, in part, by serial to Ethernet solutions that allow the utility technologies at distributed sites to work well with one another.

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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