Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Making a case for microgrids
Microgrids represent one of the important nuances of the smart grid landscape. If you take everything the smart grid has to offer and plug it into a small area, like your data center, you have a smart grid. Imagine being able to control every aspect of power delivery in your data center, an apartment building you manage or your office campus. Microgrid solutionscould completely revolutionize how people access, manage and even generate power. All of this is made possible through the combination of specialized network, terminal server, power distribution and smart meter technologies that unify to create an intelligent energy grid architecture.
A close look at microgrids in the context of smart grid architectures
An electric grid is, when boiled down to its simplest form, ismade up of just a few components. The central control for the grid is handled by the utility provider or electric companyand functions as the primary area where the state of the grid can be assessed and managed. Power generation sites represent a key component of the grid and often include a combination of energy plants, wind farms, solar panel arrays and other sources of energy. Homes, businesses and other energy consumers make up the destination points for power and are another key part of the grid. In its simplest form, the electric grid is made up of these three components combined with a final set of systems made up of transformer stations.
A microgrid, in practice, can be a miniature version of this broad grid architecture. At a data center, for example, a company can use solar arrays for on-site power generation, develop energy distribution architectures, use smart grid solutions to manage and monitor power use, interconnect with the utility grid and use grid technologies to manage power distribution throughout the location. This microgrid can function entirely separate from the broad power grid, enabling organizations to gain more control over their energy use.
Furthermore, microgrids enable organizations to avoid any outages or similar problems that come up when the primary utility grid goes down. Similarly, they can still maintain their link to the utility grid to maintain access to power if problems emerge within the microgrid.
Terminal server infrastructure is vital to supporting the potential flexibility and efficiency gains offered by microgrids. If you want to make a microgrid work effectively, you probably have to think about connecting serial systems to Ethernet effectively. Serial to IP functionality is, therefore, central to finding success with microgrids.
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.