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Smart grid rollout may depend on new policies

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, January 26, 2012

While it may seem like smart grid implementation delays are caused by the energy industry dragging its feet, industry professionals have a much different take on the issue, Smart Grid News reports.

According to the media outlet, utilities and industry experts agree that one of the largest hurdles in smart grid installation is regulation.

At a recent smart grid forum held in Washington, D.C., industry professionals stated that a "lack of uniformity" in regulations was responsible for slow adoption of the smart grid. The electric industry is forced to contend with complex, sweeping and at times competing rules and standards that keep new investments low because of the uncertainty they create over a utility's ability to recoup costs.

"Until energy companies sense some degree of regulatory support for smart grid, coupled with a relatively normalized set of costing rules, the deployment and offering of smart grid will remain limited," forum panelists said in statement.

According to the news provider, smart grid policy should focus on creating a digital integrated network that can facilitate real-time communication across wide boundaries. A constantly evolving energy network will require utilities to ensure they are well-positioned to support the demand of billions of machine-to-machine interactions.

Utilities in the U.S. are faced with taking on the responsibility of expanding the smart grid, unlike in Europe, where the European Commission developed rules that required states to begin smart grid installments. But, the media outlet states that entails convincing lawmakers of the smart grid's potential.

It is up to electric companies to ensure that the term "smart" is more than a marketing scheme, but a proper description of a modernized network that provides information and energy that benefits both end users and utilities.

To bypass the roadblocks to smart grid implementation, utilities will need to start from the ground up and become fully knowledgeable of the new grid, the news source stated. It will be important for companies to come together to ensure interoperability of all smart grid systems, and educate and inform the public and lawmakers on the benefits of the smart grid.

SUBNET is helping utilities create a cohesive power system by introducing its Unified Grid Intelligence - an interoperability philosophy that promotes real-time integration of intelligent utility systems, all while ensuring utilities comply with stringent NERC CIP standards. 

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