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Silicon Valley ready for smart grid growth

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, November 01, 2011

While best known for its technology boom in the 1990s, California's Silicon Valley is fast becoming a leader in tomorrow's technology: the growing smart grid.

Renew Grid reports that the region has all of the necessary components to thrive in a smart grid-driven world, enabling it to potentially grow to be a national leader in smart grid developments and related technologies.

A new report by the Silicon Valley Smart Grid Task Force supports these claims, giving several examples of the region's preparedness, including the ample amount of technology companies in the area. Many of these companies produce products and services that are essential to smart grid deployment. Because potential growth of the smart grid does not hinge on energy innovations alone, these companies are well-positioned to contribute to the region's smart grid growth.

As new sensors and communications technologies are developed, the volume of data will increase, in turn driving demand for data management solutions in the electric grid.

"For decades, Silicon Valley has been on the forefront of new technologies," Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said in a press release announcing the release of the study. "Increasingly, those new technologies touch the smart grid, and Silicon Valley is reaping the economic benefit of these advances."

The study shows that from 1995 to 2009, the amount of smart grid-related firms grew in the region 138 percent, even during the recession when many other sectors showed less growth, if any.

The research also found that of the four categorized smart grid industries, which include energy efficiency products, energy storage, distributed energy generation and electricity transmission and distribution, distributed energy generation currently accounts for the largest sector of smart grid employment, at 59 percent.

The study was also launched in part by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a major utility in the area, as it hopes to use the technologies being developed by smart grid-related companies.

SUBNET Solutions Inc., a solutions provider and developer of smart grid software, is also set to thrive as smart grid deployment continues. With its Unified Grid Intelligence, SUBNET approaches smart grid challenges, such as interoperability, with a philosophy that drives a holistic approach to instant integration of existing infrastructure with intelligent systems used by utilities.

As utilities such as PG&E benefit from Silicon Valley tech companies like Cisco and GE, SUBNET offers interoperability solutions between products of the manufacturers, including intelligent electronic devices.  

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