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Smart grids breathe new life into US energy infrastructure

By Max Burkhalter
December 13, 2013

According to Live Science, America's physical power infrastructure has fallen to 14th place on the World Economic Forum. Other developed nations continue to pass the U.S. in a number of metrics, from education to economic competitiveness, but the lag in quality of the nation's most important resource- electricity - could be holding it back from greatness.

Power runs citizen's daily lives, from their alarm clocks in the morning to the computers they use for work. Without it the world would fall back into the dark ages. Yet the United States' infrastructure has been allowed to crumble, just slightly, and fall behind the times. What it needs is a new breath of life from smart grid deployments, the news source reported.

Smart grid technologies provide significant improvements to power network operations, from supporting smart meters and other intelligent devices that enhance consumption, demand response and distribution on a wide scale to streamlining green energy adoption. However, as the demand for cleaner, sustainable energy grows, so too do the demands on the grids that deliver it. Providers have to upgrade their infrastructure to meet consumer needs and provide the power in a stable, reliable manner.

According to the news source, many of the nation's power grids run the way they did in the 1800s, and in order to be upgraded some significant changes may have to occur. Energy providers will need to replace cable, transmission lines, substation hardware and more, and while many are already beginning these endeavors, they need to be expedited. In order to accomplish this, firms have to consider the technology at their disposal, and how to optimize it in conjunction with the legacy systems they are already using.

Investing in high-quality serial to Ethernet converters and related smart grid hardware will boost the ability of new systems to interact with older ones and help usher in the new era of power disbursement. Grids will be more reliable, renewable energy can be harnessed more readily and cost benefits will begin to add up, allowing firms to provide energy at a lower price, making customers happier in the long run.

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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