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Washington project highlights potential of smart grid systems

By Donna Donnawitz
July 10, 2014

A new energy storage project in Washington State is aiming to integrate storage and variable renewable generation to maximize grid efficiency. According to a recent Greentech Media report, the program will involve three utilities in the state working together to deploy storage systems that will make it much easier to increase dependence on solar energy. At this point, Hawaii, California and New York have led the move toward energy storage, but this $14.3 million project will put Washington squarely into the conversation.

Any project of this nature becomes incredibly dependent on the network functionality created by smart grid solutions, making effective hardware investments into everything from cabling to serial to Ethernet terminal servers a vital consideration for utilities.

Washington's energy storage project
The news source explained that similar large-scale storage projects have come with state-level efforts to provide tax incentives and other measures that will encourage developments in the sector. Washington's project involves a somewhat unique approach to developing energy storage in the region, and it is built around commonality. The initiative is designed to work around a common technological framework that is aimed at making it easier to support large-scale deployment around the state.

David Kaplan, CEO for the organization creating the standard framework for the Washington storage project, told the news source that many of the processes will be built around software algorithms that will make it easier to leverage data gathered throughout the grid configuration.

"We provide what we call 'operating modes,' that can be written by us, our utility customers and third parties," Kaplan told Greentech Media. "They're software algorithms. One will do peak shaving. Another will do smoothing of fluctuations from PV. Another will link them into a system-wide frequency regulation market like PJM or CAISO."

The network's role in data-based grid management
Software solutions that manage, analyze and use grid-related data can be invaluable in integrating energy storage systems, smart meters, monitoring devices, frequency management technologies and variable renewable generation sites. This free passage of information between all of these resources is proving incredibly important for utility providers because managing supply and demand is vital in ensuring reliability and cost efficiency.

Effective network systems play a critical role in supporting these advanced data-based processes, and media converter and terminal server solutions play a vital role in integrating the network across diverse technological environments where different network protocols may be in use.

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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