Thursday, February 23, 2012
Networking becoming key to support smart grid
Smart grid is changing the way organizations access power infrastructure, as the technology allows companies to carefully monitor and control how much electricity it receives based on changing needs at any time. According to a recent Construction & Maintenance report, this trend is becoming especially prevalent in Europe, where new building standards are pushing for energy efficiency in a meaningful way.
The news source explained that there are growing concerns throughout Europe that large power generation stations are unsafe and overly detrimental to the environment. Furthermore, the unreliability of the electric grid that taps into these stations has been creating problems for businesses and consumers alike.
In response, there is a growing movement to install power generation systems within new building projects. Instead of tapping into the utility grid to access electricity, businesses would have their own generator that would meet their primary needs and the grid would be available as a backup. The report said this offers major sustainability and reliability gains. However, it also creates a need for technological upgrades.
Smart grid is critical within this setup. The primary utility system needs to be able to identify how much energy different buildings are using, evaluate when their internal generation systems are going to be insufficient for operating requirements and distribute electricity to various locations as necessary, the news source explained.
Internally, businesses need to have shielding in place to protect their power generators and surrounding technologies, the report said. They also have to equip their building with smart meters to identify how much electricity is being used and communicate with the core generator and smart grid. This level of interaction also requires robust network infrastructure as the communication between devices tied to the power distribution system needs to be quick and reliable.
The amount of control over power distribution allowed by smart grid can unlock efficiencies that have been previously unheard of. Equipping buildings so they can communicate with the utility system, allowing the provider to delivery only the electricity needed to support actual use, can drive sustainability and dramatically reduce costs for businesses and consumers. This is all made possible by the underlying networking systems that support communication within smart grid systems, which are quickly emerging as the successor to current utility platforms.
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