Thursday, November 14, 2013
Smart grid advantages being realized faster than expected
While every utility provider sees significant benefits from investing in smart grid technology, many are seeing those returns come in much sooner than anticipated. According to a recent Accenture survey, nearly two-thirds of utility executives believe that the advantages of smart grid and related technology deployments will exceed their initial forecasts.
About 60 percent of executives across the globe reported that analytics solutions were their highest priority with smart grid investments, while that number shot up to 75 percent in North America alone. Cost savings, which averaged to somewhere between $40 and $70 per smart meter deployed, was the second highest focused.
"To ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable energy to consumers, utilities will need to make significant investments in grid infrastructure and technology, in order to accommodate new sources of supply and demand, such as electric vehicles, distributed solar power, microgrids and energy storage," said Jack Azagury, global managing director of Accenture smart grid Services, according to Electric Light & Power. "Our research confirms that executives expect smart grid solutions to reduce the cost of grid maintenance and upgrades and improve the reliability of the grid, while allowing it to support new technologies."
Future investments were also explored by the survey, with 96 percent of respondents ranking grid operations as their next priority for value-driven investment. Around 92 percent cited asset management as their next investment priority.
In order to fully unlock the advantages of a smart grid investment, however, utility providers need to consider not only smart meters but the cabling and media converter infrastructure they are using as well. Using the proper serial to Ethernet converter solutions and related terminal servers will help mitigate latency risk and other infrastructure challenges that can hold companies back from realizing the true potential of smart grids.
"Utilities will have to choose whether to embrace these developments as they emerge or attempt to control their impact through legislation and regulation," Azagury told the news source. "The leading utilities will be the ones that embrace the potential offered by new smart grid technologies and adapt their business model to leverage these into new business opportunities for growth."
Without optimizing smart grid investments with the right hardware, a firm will only be holding itself back from real value.
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.