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Smart grid awareness not a high point in United States

By Donna Donnawitz
April 3, 2013

There's this funny thing happening with the electric grid around much of the world, including the United States - it's getting so old it's about to give up. It's kind of like watching an athlete who was so good that his or her skills became timeless and defined a generation age. The person was just so good that everybody keeps on watching because you never know what might happen, but he or she gets injured so frequently, has to stop for rests so often and otherwise looks so old that it gets tiresome. Nobody really pays attention to this, they only really see the legacy, but a few people who are paying close attention notice the age and and start to worry. This is what's going on with the electric grid in the United States.

Understanding current grid limitations
This may sound baffling, but the current grid in most of the country is built around the same turn-of-the-century technologies that have been around for, well a century. And I'm not trying to fool you by talking about the last turn of the century, I'm talking about the early
1900s, not the early 2000s. The electric grid's proverbial creaky knees have gotten to be so bad that some policies are almost laughable, or at least they would be if it weren't for the fact that people go without power because of these problems. The issues can be significant. There are some cases, for example, when the most efficient response to an outage is driving around in trucks looking at wires to find which one is broken.

The smart grid can change all of this through a complex web of terminal servers, Ethernet infrastructure and intelligent metering systems. However, only a small portion of the country is paying attention to the flashy new rookie that is ready to take the aging veteran's place. A recent study fromZpryme and PennEnergy Research found that Massachusetts is currently the most smart grid-aware state, but just over 52 percent of people in the state know about smart grid. In the second best state, Maryland, just 39.3 percent of are aware of the smart grid. The lack of awareness around the country is a major problem because consumer engagement is a key component of the smart grid.

Understanding the value of consumer engagement
Many experts agree that getting customers to understand what the smart grid can do for them is key for maximizing the value of the technology. The smart grid can offer major efficiency gains, but part of achieving those benefits depends on helping consumers identify how they are using energy and how they can use it better.

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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