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Smart grid technologies and electric vehicles make a nice pair

By Max Burkhalter
May 31, 2013

Electric vehicles could have a revolutionary impact on carbon emissions. Using electric vehicles enables consumers to travel much more efficiently than they would when using gasoline-powered cars. While the technology offers considerable potential, it also brings plenty of risk with it. There is a general lack of infrastructure in place surrounding electric vehicles. While some gas stations are beginning to offer electrical vehicle charging stations, they are notcommon. Many experts think the problem to this infrastructure problem could be to encourage consumers to install home charging stations. While this technology offers potential, it could be a nightmare for utility providers. This is where the smart grid comes into play.

Smart grids and electric vehicles
Having electric vehicle charging stations in homes would allow more consumers to take advantage of the automotive technology and reduce carbon emissions substantially. However, a casual glance at the energy use circumstances surrounding home charging reveals a situation that could be extremely problematic for electric companies. For many people, their car is used to get them to work, home from work and for a few errands in the evening. As a result, many households would feature a common environment in which people go to work in the morning, come home at similar times and then leave their cars to charge overnight. This peak usage would put an incredible strain on the utility network, but smart grid could be the answer.

In theory, smart meter solutions can be used to identify how much energy consumers use and at what times they typically use that power. This can contribute to fairly accurate projects of demand at any time, making it much easier to balance the power delivery load and configure the grid to support widespread electric vehicle use. According to a recent demonstration project from DiUS, smart grid technologies working in conjunction with electric vehicles can help utility companies maintain consistent power delivery and reduce costs for consumers.

Getting the smart grid going
While the potential gains offered by the smart grid are becoming fairly clear, developing methods to take full advantage of this technology is not so simple. This is particularly true when it comes to the network architecture, which features a mix of Ethernet and serial systems that have to work well together to support smart grid operations. Terminal servers can prove ideal in this area, as the technologies enable utility providers to streamline network deployment within the utility grid.

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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