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Smart grid solutions continue to take on big issues

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Smart grid vendors and researchers are plowing through new studies and releasing more products than ever before, which are continuing to shape the smart grid landscape and have an effect on the way utilities manage electricity.

According to Smart Grid News' latest Discovery Showcase, these advancements are coming in the form of solutions to switchyard failure, new ways to measure and implement demand response and a number of other innovations that utilities can use to improve their operations.

One of the most promising new gadgets can help utilities remotely identify partial discharge (PD) activity that goes on in high-voltage open terminal switchyard equipment. The product's manufacturer stated that the device, which is handheld and battery powered, enables power companies to scour an entire switchyard to identify potentially failing assets in only minutes. This scanning encompasses circuit breakers, isolators, disconnectors, surge arresters, cable sealing ends and instrument transformers.

”The ability to spot problems and intervene before they cause outages will deliver a rapid return on investment, but the PD Hawk is also a uniquely valuable tool for gathering information on the condition of large numbers of switchyard assets, which is essential for planning maintenance and replacement programs," said EA Technology Director Neil Davies.

Another area of interest, which has recently grabbed the attention of policymakers and even made its way into the presidential debates, is combating energy theft and cyber attacks, the news provider stated. One company recently invested in a new smart meter system-on-a-chip (SoC) product that can help utilities protect their smart grid assets from cyber attacks and energy theft. The product was built with a cryptographic module that can ensure communications security, as well as a bootleader that can stop unauthorized firmware modifications.

"By combining metrology, security and communication, we provide a platform for any embedded smart grid equipment that needs to measure, to communicate, and to do it securely," said Kris Ardis, Maxim business director for smart grid products.

To improve integrated sensing and control, a new Intelligent Data Concentrator (IDC) has been developed that allows utilities to leverage smart meter infrastructure to support advanced supervision, analytics and automation.

SUBNET remains one of the top companies utilities turn to when implementing new smart grid technologies. As these products and solutions unfold, utilities can use SUBNET's software and expertise to increase integration efficiency. 

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