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Smart grid deployments help improve older infrastructure as well

By Donna Donnowitz
January 29, 2014

Smart grids aren't just about upgrading infrastructure blindly, but developing targeted improvements to drive value and cost efficiency at once. By investing in smart grid technologies like serial to Ethernet converters and smart meters, utility providers can enhance their networks and start developing key insights on where their infrastructure needs the most improvement.

According to The Energy Collective, the smart grid has helped California address climate change in important ways. Not just for improving the resiliency of the network or deploying technology to better monitor usage, but also the ability to detect problems within the infrastructure, such as gas or water leaks, downed wires or other areas where key improvements are needed to improve the stability and structural integrity of the grid.

Water usage is one area in particular the news source cites key improvements that can be made with the right smart grid infrastructure. Even just increasing awareness of water consumption can reduce usage, as providers will be able to track demand and customers will be more aware of waste. Time of use is another metric that it can be valuable for utilities to leverage, as it can be tied to energy use for increased savings when done properly.

"We can't stop human-caused climate change, but we can mitigate its worst effects by continuing Smart Grid solution deployments in the electrical grid and applying these solutions in the water grid. We have no choice but to adapt to the impacts of climate change," the news source noted. "Smart Grid technologies and policies can certainly help accelerate economic and societal adaptations as well as support creative mitigation strategies."

By investing in smarter water and electrical meters, utility providers can optimize the information available to them and start examining the rest of their infrastructure for weaknesses. From leaks to areas that just need some minor upgrades, these tools will help improve the reliability and stability of the utility network, and numerous other benefits as well. However, firms have to ensure they are utilizing the best possible terminal server and Ethernet to serial converter hardware to establish the line of communications across the grid and ensure the flow of information reaches them quickly and securely.

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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