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US to develop stronger plan for smart grid, solar power

By Max Burkhalter
February 10, 2014

The Electric Power Research Institute is taking Germany's solar and smart grid deployment into consideration for further development of a nation-wide smart grid network, according to E&E Publishing. By taking a lesson from Germany's struggles but also a page from their book for monetizing and financing these efforts, the U.S. could advance its adoption of renewable energy sources like solar power much more quickly.

Using the report, the EPRI has made suggestions that would help improve and expedite smart grid deployments for public and private utility firms.

"The grid is expected to change in different, perhaps fundamental ways, requiring careful assessment of the costs and opportunities of different technological and policy pathways to fully integrate distributed energy resources into the electric power systems," said EPRI President and CEO Michael Howard, according to the news source. "If we are going to realize the full value of these resources, while at the same time continue to provide affordable and reliable electricity, we need to integrate them into every aspect of grid planning, operations and policy."

One of the main considerations the EPRI noted in its report was the elimination of "freeloading" photovoltaic solar power sources. The proper distribution of energy will require power companies to ensure that all resources are properly integrated into the larger infrastructure. Developing complementary, rather than competitive, systems will ensure that utilities are able to leverage the resulting benefits for their own gains, as well as those of customers.

The key to proper integration of new, renewable sources of power, as well as the smart grid technologies to properly utilize them, is in the supporting network hardware. Investing in high-quality serial to Ethernet converters, remote I/O solutions and the proper cabling will better support the integration of information technology with power grids and deploy the solutions across a broader coverage area. In return, power suppliers will see their costs decrease while network support expands. This, ultimately, will serve to support further initiatives and ensure that renewable power sources, be they solar or otherwise, are properly leveraged for both the consumer and the provider.

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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