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Keeping assets going strong

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, October 18, 2012

At the recent International Council of Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) sessions, which was held to discuss the current state of smart grid deployments, industry experts agreed that utilities need to pay particular attention to keep assets updated on a regular basis.

According to Smart Grid News, the first phases of the grid modernization movement focused on the end points of power flow, with the largest movement seen in advanced meter reading and advanced metering infrastructure.

Now, though, smart grid developments have blossomed beyond merely making endpoints more efficient and reliable, but ensuring the inner workings of power transmission and distribution benefit from smart grid technologies as well. The recent conference proved that the industry is slowly gravitating toward this sentiment, and utilities are increasingly looking at the midway points of power flow to make the grid smarter, safer and more reliable.

"This is a great improvement, since such a focus had largely been lacking in developed countries where smart grid was viewed as simply the deployment of smart meters," wrote industry veteran Brett Sargent of LumaSense. "Asian utilities, for example, tended to have a better approach on the actual grid versus the end point. Now it appears that the industry at large is beginning to get on the same page."

Attendants also broached the slowdown in major deployments, which they said has created a larger need than ever for improved asset management, the news provider stated. The slacking activity in major global investments is mostly concentrated in China and India, which is an unavoidable by product of the global financial situation. However, North America and Western Europe aren't without their problems, as both regions have aging electric infrastructure that must be replaced.

With the average transformer in North America more than 40 years old, extending the life of assets until new investments are pumped into the sector will be paramount.

By extending the life of assets, utilities can see huge improvements in cost effectiveness.

"If customers cannot afford to buy and install new assets, they need solutions that can be installed across their entire fleet to extend its life until new infrastructure components can be installed," Sargent added. "An overall lower total cost of ownership is necessary to allow for this wide-scale deployment."

SUBNET's products enable utilities to integrate new smart grid technologies with legacy equipment, effectively reducing both costs and time associated with grid upgrades.

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