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Further smart grid investments drive cost savings

By Donna Donnowitz
December 23, 2013

As more cities and utility providers invest in smart grid technologies and solutions, growing optimism surrounds the savings and efficiency these tools will provide. From Florida to California, city officials are looking to these strategies to launch further initiatives and boost the overall improvement of city infrastructure.

San Diego plans smart grid investment
The city of San Diego was recently awarded $2 million by the Department of Energy for its smart grid planning, supplementing the $2.3 million already invested by San Diego Gas & Electric. According to PennEnergy, these additional funds will go toward the second phase of the city's smart grid deployment. So far, customers have already received improved access to alternative energy, as well as information on going green and bill credits for opting into demand response programs supported by these technologies. Phase two will continue these efforts while implementing studies and customer outreach programs to further educate consumers on the benefits of the city's green energy plans.

"Through the [Obama] Administration's initiatives such as Green Button, innovative utilities and third-party companies across America are working together to put the power of big energy data directly into the hands of consumers," said Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, according to the news source.

SDG&E has already implemented five renewable energy solutions, using solar and wind generation.

Leesburg expects improvement despite setbacks
The city of Leesburg, Fla., recently implemented over 24,000 smart meters to advance its smart grid deployment. While the initiative has seen some setbacks, including delays in power-usage data accuracy testing and trouble in negotiations with GE, the company supplying the meters.

Despite the setbacks, the city is highly optimistic about the savings the investment will provide, both to residents and the city itself. From improving the flow of power to customers to streamlining disaster recovery and other efforts, enhancing the city's utility grid with smart meters will boost overall infrastructure management.

For any city looking to accomplish similar efforts, investing in smart meters is only half of the battle. Organizations also have to utilize the appropriate supporting hardware, like terminal servers and serial to Ethernet converter technology, which will boost the flow of information back to the power provider and ensure accuracy while eliminating latency.

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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