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PG&E working on energy storage pilot project

By Max Burkhalter
May 24, 2013

Energy storage is a vital component of the smart grid because solutions that store electricity effectively enable the grid to be more dependent on intermittent power resources. At the same time, good batteries can stockpile electricity while it is less expensive, allowing utility providers to spend less on power. This functionality is dependent on a robust network configuration that features a combination of terminal servers and other technologies that enable interoperability between Ethernet networks and specialized utility architectures. However, the result is a system where utility managers can identify how much energy is needed at any time, how much may be needed within a prescribed period and price estimates and make strategic decisions about whether to buy more power, turn to stored energy or consider other sources.

This is the power of the smart grid - it gives utility managers the ability to look at analytic data from a wide range of sources, put that information next to power use trends and make the best decisions about energy use and sourcing. Energy storage programs are at the center of this ecosystem because they provide key flexibility, and the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) company is working on a pilot project to develop a solid battery use architecture, Renew Grid reported.

Looking at PG&E's pilot project
According to the news source, the PG&E is working with the California Energy Commission to place a few batteries in the San Jose area to supplement the grid and store power when demand is low.Greg Kiraly, PG&E's senior vice president of distribution operations, explained that the new program could provide key innovation in the smart grid sector.

"Battery storage holds tremendous promise in helping electric utilities like PG&E enhance the overall reliability of an ever-changing energy supply," Kiraly told Renew Grid. "This pilot project will provide critical, real-world data on the technical and financial performance of battery energy storage to help us understand how battery storage devices can serve PG&E's customers and the overall electric grid."

Delivering a smart grid ROI
Smart grid deployment is an expensive process. However, many experts believe the technology's benefits will create a substantial return on investment for utility providers. Protecting that ROI depends on being able to deploy smart grid systems as efficiently as possible. Serial to Ethernet terminal servers are vital in this area, as they provide vital interoperability in a wide range of settings, including substations.

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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