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Sustainability being prioritized for new year

By Max Burkhalter
January 2, 2013
With 2013 arriving, there are many ways to begin planning for another year. While every business will have its own goals and you probably have a few personal resolutions of your own, there are a few trends that are somewhat pervasive. Moving toward more sustainable operations is one of them, as green operations have evolved from a fad or marketing move to an important part of enterprise operations.

Considering power generation
Utility operations and electricity consumption are two related areas where sustainability practices are shifting. As smart grid solutions rise and other advanced functions become reachable, innovation in the sector is clear. According to a recent CIO magazine report, one of the primary areas for energy innovation in 2013 will be onsite storage solutions.

Simon Mingay, research vice president for Gartner, told the news source that onsite power generation is rising in a variety of locations around the world.

"We anticipate seeing more use of onsite power generation for new data centers - specifically trigeneration, most commonly based on gas turbines in Australia and Europe, though we have seen some interesting large scale deployments using fuel cells in the United States," Mingay told CIO magazine. "Trigeneration is a mature technology, but has not been used extensively for data centers anywhere in the world. But it is attractive for data centers because of the ability to make use of the heat generated onsite for cooling purposes."

Making onsite power generation work
Onsite power generation is now more accessible, to a great extent, because smart grid systems are more widely available. Organizations can use smart grid systems to establish a microgrid within a data center, allowing them to attach that system to the broad utility grid, but manage their own power use and distribution. As a result, companies can use their own power generation sources for energy, enabling major cost gains. However, the utility grid would still be present as a backup solution or in any instances in which more power is needed to support usage spikes or similar issues.

Smart grid creates this kind of functionality through a combination of systems that often includes serial to Ethernet media conversion tools. Such solutions make interoperability between serial-specific utility technologies and Ethernet communications infrastructure possible. As a result, real-time communication and automation is enabled in the grid, allowing for more reliable and efficient operations.

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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