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New smart grid bill goes before U.S. Congress

By Max Burkhalter
July 17, 2013

It may be time for green energy and smart grid pundits to start getting excited about what is happening in the United States. The nation has already been a prominent location for smart grid investments, and a recent bill proposed in Congress could add momentum to current innovation. AnEast County Today report explained thatCongressman Jerry McNerney recently proposed a new bill to Congress that could end up stimulating smart grid investments and contributing to major advances in the nation's utility architecture.

McNerney's smart grid bill
According to the news source, McNerney, one of the few sustainable energy experts currently in Congress, focuses on pushing utility providers to develop ways to reduce energy use during peak periods. This can often be accomplished using smart grid solutions to better assess use demands in real time and deliver power much more efficiently. As a result, power companies do not end up purchasing as much excess electricity to meet requirements because estimates are more accurate.

Furthermore, continuing to acceleratesmart grid development could have major economic implications. The report said that McNerneycited a Department of Energy study when making this point.Research hasindicated that smart grid efforts in the United States have already created approximately 47,000 jobs and more than $7 billion in economic output. Future economic growth is a vital consideration when making long-term smart grid plans.

"In order to better utilize our energy resources, we must become more efficient and transition to lower carbon energy systems," said McNerney, according to East County Today. "Making necessary investments in the nation's smart grid is one way to facilitate this transition.If we take action now, smart grid will create family-wage jobs, produce real economic benefits, increase energy efficiency, and allow for renewable energy technologies to be more easily integrated into our system."

Streamlining smart grid adoption
Investing in smart grid solutions can present major technological challenges. One of those difficulties is finding ways to support the diverse network protocols used within the grid. Serial to Ethernet terminal servers can pay dividends in this area. Many electric substations and other utility systems depend on serial connectivity to support operations, but need to be able to work with Ethernet solutions to interact with smart grid systems. Terminal servers make this happen while introducing important network functions to the broad grid architecture.

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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