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Smart grid report focuses on hardware, software and communication network technologies

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, February 02, 2012

A new report detailing the smart grid's ability to use the latest technology to help utilities avoid transmission and distribution loss has been published, focusing on the advances in metering infrastructure and software systems such as SCADA, DRM, DMS and others.

New devices will help balance the electricity supply and demand and improve grid reliability by keeping tabs on the frequency and duration of power outages, as well as the number of disturbances. Smart grid technology promises to improve utilities' efficiency and dependability.

The report indicated that one of the most prominent restraints to further deployment of the smart grid lies in the lack of interoperability standards. Such problems exist at all levels in the system, as numerous vendors around the world provide services with different operating standards.

Currently, the smart grid is lacking in such standards, which will lead to slower adoption of intelligent electronic devices. However, one of the current trends prevailing in smart grid technology is the modernization of old technology through upgrades.

Around the world, the smart grid market is expected to become an $80.6 billion industry by 2016, compared to the $22.8 billion that was spent in 2011.

Such investments will include projects from several companies around the world. Already, Honeywell and Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) have partnered to launch a pilot program created to show how smart grid technology can further integrate more intermittent renewable energy like wind power and solar energy.

In the two-year program, HECO will perform a test of new smart grid technology that will give the utility the tools to reduce demand within 10 minutes of being notified of a potential imbalance between supply and demand.

The pilot, if successful, will also validate the technical design and tariffs for a full-scale demand-response program in line with Hawaii's renewable energy goals.

"Increasing renewable energy requires new and more advanced methods of managing reliability, especially given the variable nature of wind and solar," says Scott Seu, HECO’s vice president of energy resources. "This project will lay the groundwork for new programs to advance a clean energy future for Hawaii."

SUBNET offers solutions utilities can use to better manage the demand for power from various sources through substation automation and secure remote access. By leveraging these technologies with existing electric infrastructure, utilities can greatly improve their transition into the smart grid. 

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