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Smart grid improvements more beneficial than anticipated

By Max Burkhalter
November 7, 2013

Firms investing in smart grid technology are seeing higher returns than they originally expected, according to Accenture's recent Smart Grid Business 2012 to 2017 report. About 60 percent of enterprise executives that responded to the firm's study said they believe the benefits they have received from investing in smart grid efforts have exceed initial forecasts, while 85 percent noted their belief that the industry will grow more competitive over the next few years.

"Can you handle a bit more good news, or have you had your quota for the month? Turns out these same execs believe data analytics will result 'conservatively in an estimated $40 to $70 in savings per electric meter per year,'" Jesse Berst, chief analyst at SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, said.

Furthermore, Accenture's study found several more key influencers in smart grid adoption. According to Smart Grid News, more executives are viewing IT skills as the most important factor in optimizing smart grid projects. Analytics are considered one of the top priorities for getting smart grids in place and will continue to influence the sector until 2030, while global investments are expected to increase despite differing drivers in North America and Europe.

One of the most important factors outlined in the report, however, were the primary barriers to adoption. Investment risk, regulations and issues with the technology itself were considered problematic for reliable energy delivery. These are the top areas that firms will need to address first in order to streamline smart grid deployment.

In order to successfully address technology issues, providers will need to invest in the right terminal servers and media converters to get the job done. Smart grid deployments require a lot of connecting systems, and as cabling types change so too must the converters used to manage them with minimal latency. Serial to Ethernet converters will be essential to the process, and utilities have to invest in top products in order to ensure their grids meet regulations and support the demands of their network.

By opting to invest in the right technology first, providers will gain the assurance that their smart grids will hold up better to the test of time, and optimize energy distribution faster.

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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