Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Smart grid industry made major progress in 2012
It is not uncommon to discuss technological development by comparing it to human advancement. As people develop from infancy, through childhood and adolescence and into maturity, technologies generally go through an early introductory period, initial hype, early deployment and widespread use. According to a recent GreenTech Media report, 2012 may have been the year in which smart grid solutions left adolescence and began heading into maturity.
Smart grid's emergence as a mature technology
The comparison between human development and the smart grid's emergence is not perfect, as the smart grid has slowly been evolving for quite some time, but the sudden jump from an adolescence-like period to maturation is clear, the news source explained.
While the foundational elements of the smart grid have been around for a while, new technologies that make the utility solution more powerful, accessible and beneficial have been emerging at a rapid pace. At the same time, the financial models enabling grid investment have matured substantially, creating room for more sustainable growth, the report said.
During the smart grid maturation period over the past few years, innovation has been fueled primarily by government funding. Stimulus money has acted as the primary catalyst for new smart grid projects because they helped remove risk and establish the foundation necessary to let utilities invest in large-scale projects. However, the government funds that had spurred smart grid's growth from childhood to adolescence are running dry, creating potential challenges. According to the news source, the success of many early smart grid projects, including some that were subsidized by the government, has led to greater interest from venture investors because they have served as a proof of concept for the smart grid as a key utility technology for the future. This has created a much more sustainable fiscal model that is helping smart grid solutions move to a more mature development period.
Making smart grid easier
While smart grid deployments are becoming more mature, it is still important to consider ways to improve and accelerate installation and maintenance. Serial to Ethernet media conversion tools can play a major role in this process, because they provide utilities with streamlined way to enable interoperability between serial-based equipment and the Ethernet systems that are often vital in smart grid operations. This can ease many deployment burdens associated with the smart grid and help electric companies take full advantage of the technology's growing maturity.
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.