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Smartgrid's evolution will continue into 2012

By Donna Donnawitz
January 26, 2012
This year will likely see significant growth for smart grid systems, as the continued aging of many utility grids and the maturation of the technologies that make smart grid possible converge to create significant opportunities in the sector, reported.

One technology that will probably see more use in smart grid setups is distributed automation. The news source said DA technology is becoming integral to enabling smart grid's ability to improve the reliability of utility infrastructure. This is achieved because distributed automation facilitates clear communication between power lines, substations and other physical systems within the utility grid. A better network creates an environment in which the entire network can communicate remotely with the main control center, allowing utility managers to control the entire grid from a central location and ensure things run as smoothly as possible.

Cybersecurity systems will also improve in light of smart grid's growing popularity during the year. The report explained that smart grid systems create unique security risks that need to be dealt with to protect the infrastructure from hackers and other threats. Citing a Pike Research study, the news source said that utility providers are diverting significant funds towards cybersecurity, which likely lead to maturation during 2012.

Figuring out how to handle data will also play a role in smart grid's evolution during the year. According to the news source, the vast number of sensors, monitoring devices and other solutions spread throughout smart grid utility setups provide data that is integral to utility management. However, many providers are currently struggling to analyze and make the most of this information. The coming year will see significant investments in analytics tools that will help providers make the most of the data they gather within their smart grid infrastructure.

As smart grid investments continue to grow, spending on advanced network infrastructure will also come into play. The network is, in many ways, the key foundation that makes smart grid possible. The technology's primary benefit is the superior control it provides over the power grid, which would be impossible without the network. Connecting smart meters, sensors, monitoring devices, power distribution systems and other aspects of the grid is key, as it allows utility managers to evaluate the state of the grid and adapt its configuration to operational needs.

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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