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Smart grid resources gain public and private support

By Donna Donnowitz
March 5, 2014

Approval and support for smart grid-related peripherals and trends, like smart meters, renewable energy sources and high-quality terminal servers, is at an all-time high. According to the UK Energy Research Centre, both industry and public support is being driven by the clear benefits of these devices for consumers and utilities in relation to communicating data and controlling energy usage.

The center's report focuses on the lackluster investments into smart grid solutions of late, and how improvements to supporting hardware like serial to Ethernet converters is helping to reverse this trend. According to SmartMeters, this could help to expedite smart grid deployments in general, creating consumer-driven energy infrastructure growth that will help drive improvements to the energy industry overall.

"The UK's electricity grid is fast becoming outdated, as new technologies and new behaviors change the way we use and supply power," Nazmiye Balta-Ozkan, project leader from the University of Westminster's Policy Studies Institute, said regarding the report. "Our increased use of intermittent renewables and electric vehicles will require more intelligent ways of managing and delivering energy. But energy suppliers and the government need to be switched on to consumer concerns about this transition."

In fact, the research found that the majority of respondents to its study preferred a scenario where the majority of power is generated by the household through solar and related technologies, while minimal smart deployments saw only an 8 percent approval rating. The opportunity to reduce their energy bills and turn to renewable energy as the primary source of power drives many consumer opinions.

Despite this demand, data security and privacy was also a high concern for respondents. According to the report, 60 percent of consumers noted worries about their personal data privacy, while others were concerned about data sharing across the grid (49 percent). Balta-Ozkan noted that smart grid investments need to be led by policy change to assuage these fears and reduce risk while promoting innovation.

The increased focus on smart grids and renewable energy will have broad advantages in other areas as well, such as adoption of electric vehicles. Click Green reported that increased consideration of EV charging station needs is leading more utilities to invest in these technologies to support consumer demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles across the globe.

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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