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Slow and steady could win the smart grid interoperability race

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, November 10, 2011

In order for the smart grid's most powerful contributions to electrical infrastructure to be fully actualized, several new demands must be met. Two-direction power flow, higher amounts of energy storage technologies and diverse sources of generation will need to be incorporated into new business models.

Although developing initiatives to put the benefits of reducing the risk of blackouts and automating distribution systems into place is needed soon, the long-term vision of the smart grid must remain clear for companies and utilities if the new grid is to have a place in this world, Dick Deblasio, Chairman of the IEEE 2030 working group states.

In an article for Fierce Grid Magazine, DeBlasio underscored the importance of getting it right the first time.

"In the rush to deliver immediately on the smart grid's promise, this revolutionary element of the long-term vision is being underemphasized," he says. "And now is not the time to settle for a non-optimized smart grid course."

According to DeBlasio, interoperability remains as one of the most daunting challenges many utilities and government bodies see in deploying a smarter grid. If these entities hastily choose technology providers, issues may arise in the inter-connectivity of new systems.

To address this challenge, DeBlasio touted the IEEE's "Guide for the Interoperability of Energy Storage Systems Integrated with the Electric Power Infrastructure" as one safe approach to addressing the many technologies that will be developed as the smart grid rolls out.

The document examines terminology, functional performance, operations, testing, functional criteria and engineering principles that can help to optimize productivity in the new grid.

At the upcoming Grid Interoperability Annual Plug-In, smart grid companies will further discuss interoperability by demonstrating end-to-end applications.

"The standards-based approach to simplify the integration of devices and systems between multiple vendors through interoperability is not only feasible, but it's supported by companies in a competitive marketplace," said Steve Widergren, plenary chair of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). "What you'll see at Plug-In is a success story born of the diligent and collaborative efforts from leading standards experts and integrators."

With interoperability a major factor in the new smart grid, SUBNET Solutions Inc. is well prepared to offer expertise to utilities in the matter.

The solutions provider utilizes an interoperability philosophy, titled Unified Grid Intelligence, to holistically approach the real-time integration of smart grid systems, enabling utilities to sync with several different intelligent systems.  

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