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IEEE releases new smart grid standards

By Max Burkhalter
October 1, 2012
Smart grid technologies are widely regarded as one of the most innovative things to hit the electricity grid in about a century. Think about that - the core power delivery systems that were initially established in the early 1900s have remained, relatively speaking, the same. Sure, some new technologies have come along to enable better construction and wire protection, but the core methods used to get electricity from generation site to utility provider and out to the customer have remained the same.

Understanding smart grid's risk/reward scenario
The smart grid is an entirely new architecture. On one hand, it provides a revolutionary boost to operations that cannot be easily ignored. However, these benefits come with the same caveat that almost any new technology system brings - risks created by not completely knowing what to expect. One of the best ways to address the threat of the unknown is to standardize the technology. Developing engineering standards can dictate best practices and warn engineers about possible threats. New standards from the IEEE are aimed at a variety of smart grid related concerns.

What the new standards include
The new smart grid regulations from the IEEE include provisions for distributed network protocol setups within the grid, electricity distribution reliability, data encoding in advanced metering systems and automatic reclosing processes for circuit breakers.

Bill Ash, strategic program manager for the IEEE-Standards Association, explained that the new standards are a key component in helping advance smart grid solutions on a global level.

"IEEE is continually updating its standards and developing new standards to address the needs of utilities around the world as they integrate new technologies and upgrade their systems to meet current and future operational and service objectives for smart grids," said Ash. "These latest IEEE standards activities underscore the importance for new standards to support the growth and evolution of the smart grid industry globally."

What smart grid means for networks
As new standards emerge and smart grid technologies become more prominent around the world, the need for serial to Ethernetrises. Smart grid solutions involve getting operations technology and information technology systems to work in conjunction with one another. As many utility systems typically run on serial network solutions, and most IT solutions require Ethernet, the need to develop interoperability within the connectivity model is key.

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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