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Get smart grid when weather gets you down

By Max Burkhalter
January 17, 2013

We all have our favorite hobbies or, more likely, foods that we turn to when life has us down. These bits of comfort remind us, just a little, about the good things we have so we don't get too caught up in what is bothering us. In recent months, I've been thinking a lot about how annoying the current utility grid is. I know being annoyed by this issue probably makes me a pretty weird person, but I mean, the United States is among the world's leading nations and we are using a utility system that doesn't look all that different than it did a century go. Cue the blues music.

When our energy system gets me down, which often happens when extreme weather creates an outage, I think about the smart grid. Yes, I know my weird quotient is rising, but I can deal with that because the smart grid does some pretty cool stuff.

If recent weather is an indication, I'm going to spend a lot of time pining for the smart grid in 2013. Thankfully, some progress is finally being made in making the smart grid a reality in many areas.

Extreme weather is coming
If power outages and other weather-related problems have been getting you down, you may want to stop reading now, because the weather doesn't seem to be getting any better. A recent report from The New York Times said the United Kingdom is dealing with droughts and flooding, while its so hot down under in Australia that plants are spontaneously combusting (not really), leading to major bush fire problems. And let's not start on Russia, where it's negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, you read that correctly) and even traffic lights have stopped working because it is so frigid. What's worse,Omar Baddour, chief of the data management applications division at the World Meteorological Organization, said these aren't just isolated weather systems.

"Each year we have extreme weather, but it's unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once's already a big year in terms of extreme weather calamity," Baddour told the news source.

Get the smart grid
Keeping the power grid functional during such times is tough. However, smart grid solutions provide the real-time communication necessary to make quick repairs and sustain energy in more places when problems do occur. This is largely made possible through a combination of specialized serial solutions, robust Ethernet and media converters that make it all interoperable in a common data network.

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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