Thursday, May 02, 2013
Europe watching U.S. smart grid developments
The United States is among the leaders in the smart grid industry, but it may not be positioned to stay there. Arecent study from Memoori researchfound that smart grid penetration in the United States is the highest in the world, but the current path of grid projects could lead to the countryfalling behind parts of Europe over time.
The study, which Memoori published in summary in Intelligent Utility, found that government investments have helped fuel effective smart grid deployment in the United States, but that electric grid in the nation should be farther along the path to smart grid than it is considering how much money has been pushed into the network. Conversely, Northern Europe, has not developed the same penetration rate for smart grid projects, but may have a better foundation in lace for future growth.
Comparing the United States and Europe in smart grid development
Jim McHale, founder of Memoori, explained that public founding has helped fuel smart grid spending in the United States, but held back innovation in Europe.
"In the U.S., smart grid investment was approximately $7 billion in 2012, including refurbishment business to incrementally improve and smarten up the control and reliability of the electrical network," said McHale. "Nevertheless, these numbers are disappointing given that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a major incentive for the industry with more than $4 billion in grant funding for smart grid program demonstrations, which was significantly larger than any public funds contributed in Europe."
While initial smart grid developments have not flourished as much in Europe, many utility companies in the nation have done a good job making gradual upgrades to the utility grid. In particular, spending on digital control systems and variable renewables has positioned many European nations for a natural path to the smart grid, but there are still plenty of roadblocks, such as energy costs that are already high McHale explained.
Taking smart grid to another level
Terminal servers and other network tools can help utility providers take their smart grids from initial deployment and turn them into a more mature architecture. Serial to Ethernet technologies can enable grid operations to connect diverse grid equipment and help energy companies develop a solid smart grid setup. This allows them to maximize the value of communicationarchitectures in the grid and create a return on investment.
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.