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Scotland set to begin work on smart grid

By Max Burkhalter
May 25, 2012
In a recent press conference, Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, announced plans to develop a large-scale smart grid setup to alleviate power concerns and improve energy efficiency throughout the region, the BBC reported.

According to the news source, the project will feature an integrated effort by academic and research organizations alongside utility companies. By encouraging this collaboration, Scotland is hoping to not only take full advantage of the power saving and sustainability benefits of smart grid, but also develop a trained workforce capable of installing and maintaining the new power system.

Speaking for a collaborative group of academic and utility professionals, Jim McDonald, the principal of the University of Strathclyde, told the BBC that the new network represents a major stride into the future. The plan is so ambitious that he expect it will end up being one of the largest power engineering projects of the 21st century.

"In this country we benefit from having world-leading university research capability in key, smart grid relevant themes including electrical systems, power engineering and informatics," McDonald told the news source. "The education and training of the skilled workforce necessary to grow this industry is essential and Scotland's colleges and universities have never been better placed to address such a strategic requirement and job creation opportunity."

Creating a workforce that is ready to handle smart grid is an important consideration for any deployment. Recent studies indicate that the broad smart grid market has gone from the planning and resource gathering stage into the actual deployment phase. As a result, utility companies need to make sure they have the workers in place to handle the monumental upgrade to smart grid systems. The technology revolutionizes the power grid through advanced networking technology and real-time reporting, and configuring systems correctly is vital to success.

The potential of smart grid, once deployed, is considerable. It can gather power consumption data much more accurately, and in more detail, than the current grid. This allows utility providers to better understand electricity consumption and align power use with needs. But accomplishing this ambitious goal is not possible without the IT investments needed to connect a diverse range of meters, monitors and energy distribution sites. As smart grids become a reality, not just a strategic plan, it is vital that utility have the resources they need to meet the challenges presented by the utility advance.

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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