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Resiliency still prioritized in smart grid projects

By Max Burkhalter
May 23, 2014

As technology evolves, experts are focused on resiliency in smart grid development efforts, looking to optimize the stability of energy infrastructure and minimize blackout and brownout risks.

According to CleanTechnica, the Department of Energy-run Brookhaven National Lab has recently been focused on electrical grid resiliency, especially in the face of extreme weather risks, presenting and supporting collaboration between utilities and researchers on this topic through a series of workshops. These events, hosted by Brookhaven, included experts from universities, research facilities and utility providers from across the country.

The most recent workshop, hosted in April, included a keynote address by Senior Vice President for Legal, Regulatory and Policy Affairs for General MicroGrids, Larisa Dobriansky, who was also the DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Energy Policy. Dobriansky addressed how the definition of what a "critical customer" is has evolved since the events of 9/11, specifically identifying and prioritizing services that consumers need during a crisis. Microgrids are one way to enable these improvements.

With a focus on microgrids, the April workshop offered some insight into how these strategies can optimize critical load efforts, emergency management, critical infrastructure failure and distribution vulnerability. By scaling down grid investments and localizing them, utilities can enhance their grid resiliency and help reduce stress on infrastructure during both times of peak demand and disaster.

In order to enable these improvements, however, utilities will need to continue investing in high-quality smart grid technologies, such as serial to Ethernet converters, terminal servers and the other technology that enables the integration of improvements with legacy systems. Such optimization will go a long way toward stabilizing local energy networks and supporting them during regular and critical operations.

Ultimately, these efforts will help bring utilities into the 21st century both technologically and in terms of supporting modern consumer power needs. The right tools, combined with the right approach to grid stability, resiliency and support will ensure a brighter future for providers and customers.

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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