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Smart grid's data analytics to boom

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, December 19, 2011

As the smart grid roll out transitions from the implementation phase to the value phase, data analytics will likely see a major boom within the energy sector, says Christine Richards, senior analyst with Energy Central's Utility Analytics Institute.

According to Intelligent Utility, Richards stated the smart grid's development phase ran from 2000 to 2010, while its implementation phase began in 2007 and will end next year. Then, she says, the decade between 2010 and 2020 will become the value phase.

The value phase is expected to see major improvements in grid optimization, intelligent asset management and the integration of renewable resources as new technology will be able to turn raw data into intelligence that could support utility efficiency.

In a recent webcast titled "Lessons Learned How Utilities Leverage Data," three utilities explained how they use data contained in the new smart grid to improve their processes.

The companies discussed how the massive amounts of data in the smart grid can be processed for integrity, how it can be combined with other data to develop insights and how those insights can lead to better decisions, all in real-time.

Alan Dulgeroff, director of IT enterprise and corporate systems for Sempra Utilities, discussed how San Diego Gas & Electric, which services 1.4 million electric users, went about data processing.

"Our future lies in energy sharing and data sharing," Dulgeroff said, talking about energy distribution and the coming two-way communication between both end users the new grid will feature.

Dulgeroff also spoke on how the large amounts of data being generated could be useful for SDG&E, as outlined in its "Smart Grid Deployment Plan," which was filed with the the state of California and included Customer empowerment, outage/distribution management and condition-based asset maintenance.

According to Green Tech Media, SDG&E's smart grid deployment is expected to cost $1.4 million, and could be active as early as the end of 2011. Until the entire system is up and running, the utility expects to use all the technology it currently has, both young and old, to begin educating users on the new system.

The company's "Reduce Your Use" program, which was held this summer, involved getting 3,000 customers to pledge to cut their energy use during peak power times.

SUBNET, a solutions provider with expertise in substation automation and remote access, is poised to excel as more utilities expand their smart grid roll outs. 

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