Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Super Bowl outage shows potential of smart grid
On Super Bowl Sunday, some electric technician in the bowels of the Superdome was probably wondering "why me?" or something to that effect when the lights went out at one of the nation's most popular events. Power went out in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome for more than half an hour during the Super Bowl, disrupting the game and leaving millions of people without the entertainment they had planned on for the evening. Any electric technician in that kind of situation would have to be wondering why they are stuck having to work on the problem at that particular moment, when the pressure to get the lights back on is incredible.
Of course, that pressure could have been alleviated if there was a smart grid setup in that part of New Orleans. While little is known about the nature of the outage at this point, a recent MSNBC report said the incident could have been avoided if smart grid solutions were in place.
What smart grid could have done to prevent the outage
According to the news source, more than 108 million television viewers were left looking at the black out without the benefit of the famous Super Bowl commercials. This type of disaster event can contribute to major revenue issues and similar problems. It is also something that can be avoided. The nature of the outage during the Super Bowl is so unclear that it cannot be definitely stated that the smart grid would have prevented it. However, the event does show what happens when electric systems are pushed to their maximum capacity for an extended period - they crash. Smart grid solutions can prevent this.
Citing a blog post from Massoud Amin, professor of electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, MSNBC explained that the utility grid as a whole has been operating under strain and smart grid can help. Essentially, the utility grid has been reaping more power than the infrastructure can handle, making smart grid and similar upgrades increasingly important.
Taking full advantage of the smart grid
Getting the most out of smart grid solutions depends on being able to ensure compatibility across the network. Serial to Ethernet media conversion systems are integral in this process as the technology enables interoperability between utility-specific serial solutions and the more ubiquitous Ethernet systems that are needed for cost-effective data transit. Such solutions can play a key role in containing smart grid costs and making the advanced architecture more accessible.
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.