Thursday, May 16, 2013
Smart grid technologies offer utility providers, electric companies and government organizations opportunities to take advantage of renewable resources and improve energy efficiency on multiple levels. However, finding the right way to use smart grid technologies within a region can be a difficult task. As a result, research-focused pilot projects are becoming a fairly common sight in many parts of the world. Scotland is one such nation, as the Scottish government recently announced a plan to develop a new smart grid research center, the first of its type in Europe, the Scotsman reported.
Scotland's smart grid efforts
According to the news source,First Minister Alex Salmond recently detailed Scotland's place in the smart grid sector at the opening of the new research center.
"This is a truly world-class research center and the first of its kind in Europe, clearly reinforcing that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to the new ideas, new solutions and new practices that will help us meet the electricity and energy needs of the future," said Salmond. "Smart grid technologies are increasingly important as we move to a low-carbon economy, helping to reduce energy waste and making it easier for homes and businesses to generate their own renewable energy."
The new research center will focus on developing ways to use smart grid technologies to improve future visions for the low-carbon power industry. Energy-efficiency gains are a key component of the smart grid and this initiative could support such goals. The report said approximately one-tenth of all energy traveling through Scotland's National Grid is lost during transit, leading to major losses. A key component of the research project will be developing more effective ways to transmit energy across the grid to reduce losses along the way.
Leveraging smart grid solutions effectively
While smart grid technologies can lead to major operational gains across broad grid infrastructure, the technology can also present major challenges. Interoperability is among the many issues because utility providers trying to support smart grid deployment often run into trouble trying to connect substation equipment to the Ethernet infrastructure that makes smart grid solutions work effectively. However, the serial network functionality used in most substations makes connecting to Ethernet a major challenge. Terminal server systems can solve this compatibility problem and help utility providers establish the broad network architecture needed to maximize the value of their smart grid investments.
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.