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Smart Grid deployment doesn't echo demand

By Donna Donnowitz
October 14, 2013

Demand for smart grid adoption is on the rise, but cities and government leaders are struggling to keep up with actual implementation. According to PV Magazine, the European Commission has only approved two smart grid projects for 2014, out of 250 proposals, despite a "loud call" for investments in this area as part of the EU's energy transmission network overhaul.

"Other than a cluster of interconnections around Greece, Cyprus and Israel, there are no projects on the list that could connect Europe to the plentiful and cheap solar power potential of north Africa and the Middle East," said Graham Watson, Climate Parliament chairman and European Parliament member for South West England and Gibraltar. "It is disappointing too that the ambitious UK-France-Spain line appears to have been dropped."

Of the project proposals, the EU Commission approved France and Italy's Green-Me smart grid, as well as the North Atlantic Green Zone Projects in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland. The Projects of Common Interest selected for approval will get a share of an approximately $7.9 billion US budget.

With smart grid and other energy network improvements, budget concerns are often a top reason projects aren't approved. Such investments take time and many resources to implement perfectly and there are significant considerations, such as the integration of legacy systems, compatibility and line technology to keep in mind. In order to overcome such obstacles the right tools, such as media converters, have to be utilized to keep costs low and eliminate signal loss.

Smart grids in particular require high-quality serial to Ethernet solutions to get systems integrated and allow for automation. The right tools will help integrate internal networks with wireless and remote access needs, helping to move energy networks to more sustainable, efficient management systems. The implementation of high-quality media converters allows cities and government leaders on a broader scale to adopt smart grid technologies without having to completely replace older systems, ensuring minimal-loss integration.

Ultimately, these tools can keep costs low, helping to optimize budgets and accomplish more with limited resources, which will in turn help save money and improve spending over time on future smart grid and serial Ethernet projects. According to the news source, there are four priority areas for the EU that have to be focused on, and the two approved projects only meet part of the needed improvements in them.

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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