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Plans in New York show vision of consumer-focused energy industry

By Max Burkhalter
June 18, 2014

Energy industry is changing, and consumers may end up playing a central role in the future of the sector. Data is essential in this movement, making network advances a critical component in any strategy to use smart grid technologies or similar methods to support changing energy delivery trends. This creates unique challenges for utility providers, as they must balance multiple protocols in their network, making serial to Ethernet terminal servers and various media converter technologies key to preparing for near-future and long-term demands.

Recent efforts in New York highlight the growing importance of communications architectures, as a recent report explained that efforts to give consumers more control over their power usage capabilities are expanding.

Consumers rising as prominent players in energy sector
For a long time, consumers were only minor influencers in the power sector. Utilities, power plant operators, regulators and similar stakeholders dominated the decision making and consumers had to deal with the aftermath. Recent trends have some pundits talking about the death of the energy sector as we know and the news source explained that while the rumors of demise may be a bit too much, it is true that the sector is experiencing radical change.

According to the report, recent industry talks have centered around a growing move among consumer to purchase their own solar cells for power generation. With solar technologies and home-scale energy storage becoming more accessible, there is less need for customers to buy power from utility operators, leading to the talks about the death of energy companies as we know them. The Reforming the Energy Vision plan in New York sheds light on how utility companies could deal with the trend toward household-based generation without going under.

The news source explained that the long-term vision of the REV strategy and similar tactics is to give consumers more control over where they get their power and how. To begin, home-based generation may be common, but the grid will still be used as a backup, creating opportunities for utilities to maintain consistent revenues. This is only an early example of how consumer-centric policies may take hold, but it makes it clear that the current energy industry is changing in response to new trends, not dying away.

Communication essential in shifting energy sector
Enabling smooth integration between utility grid resources and consumer-based systems hinges on smart meters, distribution automation systems and the network architectures that can support these functions. This is making diverse network technologies that can operate effectively throughout the grid critical to the long-term success of energy providers in the sector.

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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