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Data access vs. security, interoperability continue to be smart grid hot topics

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, December 06, 2011

As talk of the smart grid's benefits and advantages continues to explode around the world, actual progress has been solid and incremental, with various projects appearing on differing technical levels around the U.S.

But in addition to public fervor and President Barack Obama's Grid 21 and Better Buildings Initiative, many experts are addressing issues with the smart grid, with one of the most pressing said to be the debate between security and data that is easily accessible for substation operators.

The smart grid is deemed intelligent due to the promise of communication between its various parts. These new communications will create untold amounts of data about electricity usage - growing from collecting 1 data point from each consumer every year to more than 6,500 per consumer - setting an ambitious goal for utilities.

While this data can be used to increase efficiency among power companies, it also means information is more readily available - a notion many Americans have expressed uneasiness toward.

Another issue being confronted in the smart grid roll out is currently being discussed at the fifth annual Grid Interop in Phoenix, where roundtable talks are focusing on the introduction of interoperability standards. The event will see its first "Plug-In," in which interoperable smart grid devices will be displayed.

Beginning December 5, the conference hosted sessions for the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Governing Board, as well as 30 Working Group and Priority Action Plan meetings.

"Grid-Interop was chosen for SGIP's informational meeting in 2009 and continues to host SGIP meetings today because of the quality of smart grid leaders the conference attracts," said Stuart McCafferty, Program Manager, SGIP Program Management Office. "This year, we're thrilled to see even more momentum as the conference focuses on implementation and real-world interoperability successes at its Plug-In event."

The Plug-In event, organized by EnerNex, the UCA International Users Group and the Electric Power Research Institute will feature several real-world examples of interoperability from various vendors, with scenarios including T&D, demand response and cyber security.

SUBNET, a leading solutions provider for utilities looking to enter into the smart grid, uses its Unified Grid Intelligence interoperability philosophy to drive its approach to integrating various intelligent utility systems, all while ensuring utilities comply to NERC CIP standards.  

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