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For smart grid to flourish, infrastructure must be in place

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Those countries that have laid the best foundation for electric infrastructure will see the greatest and most substantial smart grid rollout projects, which will also be best suited for networks that are already highly developed, are accepting to a wide range of technologies and use the most advanced software.

Such are the findings of a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, which noted that of all regions, the Asia Pacific, Australia and Singapore appear to have the picture perfect environment that would support smart grid development, most notably for their stable electric infrastructure, the report found.

What's more, Singapore was said to be home to the world's most reliable electricity network, and that in the coming years, countries should look to the small nation to develop plans for their own smart grid projects, and develop a similar industry that would foster smart grid market growth.

The report, titled "SEA and ANZ Smart Grid Market - Automation Opportunities," states that the smart grid automation market took in $1.4 billion in 2011, and by 2018, this number could more than double to $3 billion. The increase in spending will come as more companies from various industries come together to help build a smart grid that has all the advantages it is capable of offering. This need to create such a system is spurring greater investments in software and IT services that can promote real-time data analysis on smart grid functions.

"It is also felt that closed-loop systems will gain prominence in the monitoring and controlling of smart grids," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Krishnan Ramanathan. "Hence, complete integration of systems will provide opportunities for automation manufacturers."

The report did note, however, that some utilities have expressed concern over introducing automated systems into their power network, citing fears that automation inherently comes with a higher risk of security breaches. These fears, however, will likely be assuaged by new security measures and regulations in countries that aim to keep cyber security high.

In the U.S., the North American Electric Reliability Corporation has developed its critical infrastructure protection standards for utilities to follow, and enforces these rules with hefty fines. SUBNET's software helps utilities comply with these NERC CIP regulations by using their existing IT infrastructure, eliminating the need for costly hardware upgrades. 

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