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Thoreau's impact on the smart grid market

By Max Burkhalter
May 27, 2014

Although industrial organizations have been among the biggest drivers of smart grid adoption and market growth, many providers are beginning to think outside of the lines and target consumers as well. Jesse Berst, writing for SmartGridNews, recently explained that the underlying preferences and demands in the consumer smart grid market are not what many would think at first pass, but rather a bit more philosophic.

According to the author, the reduction of energy cost or adherence to more stringent eco-friendliness requirements are not as important of drivers among consumers or businesses. Rather, he stated that "self-reliance" is the true catalyst behind the massive divorce of grid environments, and that this is especially valid when looking at regions or industries that have not had the most positive experiences with existing grids.

At the end of the day, the name of the game in smart grid technology is making energy consumption more affordable, efficient and reliable than traditional infrastructure and equipment would yield. In an ideal situation, smart grids would make industrial power plants, homes and myriad other facilities completely self-sustaining, as this would dramatically reduce reliance upon older types of energy.

Grid divorce, as Berst described, can also be substantiated by looking at reliability issues in major American cities that have taken place following major storms. In fact, he goes so far as to statethat advanced power utilities have become so easy-to-use and generally smaller that more consumers are looking to take advantage of the equipment specifically to protect themselves from an outage.

However, much work will still needsto be done to make these capabilities a more reasonable reality. The process of adjusting infrastructure and all of the management and oversight structures that are in place around it can be extremely complex and arduous. There are tools, though, that will help to ease the transition into smart grid technology, all the while boosting the reliability and efficiency of utility usage from the outset of deployments.

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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