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Understanding the need for smart grid technology-testing standards

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, March 02, 2012

For years, utilities have devoted huge amounts of their time, brainpower and muscle to electrify the smart grid rollout across the U.S., but if these new systems are expected to thrive, smart grid technology testing standards must be established, The Energy Collective reports.

Most of the money that has been spent on the smart grid has gone toward either developing or demonstrating disparate smart grid technology devices. And while these are important pieces that will play a major role in two-way information and power flow, they remain simply that: Pieces.

These fragmented devices, though intelligent, ultimately must fit together seamlessly within a systems-level architecture and vision if the smart grid's benefits are to be fully tapped, such as a dramatically lower carbon footprint, energy security and lower consumer and utility costs, according to the news source.

Some countries, such as China, are experiencing a different smart grid deployment experience, as utilities and policy makers are more centralized. But by design, the U.S. isn't built to operate the same way. Still, this is no indication the country will be left in the dust in smart grid deployment.

The federal government has invested a great amount into material science and demonstration of potential deployments, which has led to the development of some very forward-thinking technologies, the news source stated. It has also increased the adoption of technology validation and testing standards, which help utilities ensure such innovations are effective.

According to The Energy Collective, this drive to create the most advanced technologies is why investment in R&D is so critical to the U.S. With so many independent utilities making their own decisions, a set of testing standards would enable the safe and efficient passage of new technologies from the realm of conceptual design to commercial application.

Without these standards, oversight of the smart grid could be virtually lost and its most notable benefits - grid stability, reliability and security - could be threatened. Moreover, if momentum in smart grid deployment slows, the U.S. risks losing its influence on helping to shape the globally growing movement.

SUBNET Solutions Inc. stands prepared to arm utilities with software and expertise that enables the unification of all substation data and the ability to access and manage all intelligent electronic devices. SUBNET ensures NERC CIP compliance by leveraging existing assets of a utility, and using their established corporate IT policies. 

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