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Data improving intelligence on the smart grid

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, August 19, 2013

Government and industry professionals alike are pushing for a greater uptake in smart grid technology, but still have not made the proper improvements to get the most out its benefits.

When much of the country's electrical infrastructure was first constructed, it was done so with a sort of patch work approach. As communities developed so would the power network so as to better address its needs and over time a regional grid system was developed.

However, the ways in which energy demand has grown are changing. For example, while communities have remained stable in terms of location, populations have increased and the regions denser, meaning that the electricity demand in these areas has increased while the infrastructure has remained the same. At the same time, many people in the industry feel as though the grid has not progressed with this growing demand, and as a result, the country's grid is not well equipped to handle its electricity needs.

An intelligent grid
In order to accommodate this rising necessity there has been a push from a number of people for creating a smarter electricity network in order to increase the efficiency and reliability of distributed power. Much of this revolves around having better control over distributed electricity.

A story in Engineering Magazine explains that new technologies are working to make the electric grid "self-healing," meaning that it would be able to identify its own disruptions in service and fix them without the utility company having to come in and physically make repairs. Beyond this, however, the technology also enables the electric grid to identify various impending shortcomings, allowing for the company to make preemptive repairs.

Using data analytics
In order for the grid to be able to identify its possible problems it needs to be able to communicate information from various locations across the network. This makes the role of substation automation technology and analytics software extremely important as it is what effectively manages the flow of electricity across the entire infrastructure.

Also, because each network infrastructure is unique, this technology will help provide solutions that are specific to the various electric grids throughout the country. As a result, a Navigant Research report indicates that global market from grid optimization analytics solutions will grow from $706 million last year to $4.3 billion by 2020.

Among the technologies used in developing these solutions are Intelligent Electronic Devices, which measure the flow of electricity along varying parts of the electric grid. SUBNET helps utilities make smart grid improvements utilizing IEDs and IT solutions to improve the transmission and distribution of their infrastructure.

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