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Government smart grid projects paying off

By Max Burkhalter
April 29, 2013

In 2009, the U.S. federal government made a number of investments into long-term projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ARRA. At the time, the economy was wallowing and stimulating growth was a necessary move. From a short-term perspective, the projects coming out of the ARRA investments were designed to create immediate jobs in a variety of sectors while introducing technologies that would create sustainable economic expansion in the nation. A recent study from the U.S. Department of Energy found that the smart grid is delivering on these fronts.

Evaluating the success of ARRA-related smart grid projects
According to the news source, theARRA was specifically aimed at stimulating the economy and complete an agency or department-specific goal. Deploying the smart grid has accomplished both things by enabling utility providers and the Department of Energy as a whole to benefit from the technology. Smart grid projects also helped create jobs and create economic growth.

"Both missions are reflected in the ARRA Smart Grid projects, as they have generated economic benefits and are beginning to demonstrate that the deployment of Smart Grid technology is leading to operational, customer, and reliability benefits," the executive summary of the study said. "These benefits, however, are being realized on different time horizons, and the present analysis follows the economic effects of the immediate spending, and represents a measure of performance towards the primary mission."

Looking at the economic results of the smart grid
ARRA investments in the smart grid have led to exponential gains. The Gross Domestic Product multiplier associated with smart grid technologies has proven much higher than that for many other government investments projects. The study found that every $1 million invested into the smart grid, whether through ARRA or private matching investments, led to $2.5-$2.6 million in GDP growth. When compared to other government spending, the results of smart grid investments are incredibly positive.

Making the most of smart grid spending
Investing in the smart grid can pay dividends, but inefficient spending on the grid itself can prove costly to a project's bottom line. Cost-efficient terminal server systems are key when it comes to controlling prices and maximizing the value of smart grid spending. Organizations that take advantage of terminal servers can simultaneously ease interoperability challenges in the smart grid and introduce advanced capabilities that can streamline performance and improve reliability.

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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