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Utilities heading toward next phase of smart grid integration

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recent reports from Pike Research have found that U.S. deployment of smart meters may have reached its peak, and will begin slowing down in the near future. As these installations wind down, utilities will focus more on the next phase of smart grid deployments, Fierce Smart Grid reports.

According to the news source, the next step utilities will take in their smart grid journey will include several infrastructure and application-centered programs, such as distribution automation, energy management and integration of renewable resources. As the initiatives begin to take root, utilities will encounter a highly complex integration environment, which will give rise to one solution among utilities - enterprise architecture.

The difficulties of integrating so many smart grid technologies will create never-before-seen challenges for utilities and place heavy demand on IT infrastructure. One recent Pike report found many utilities are turning to enterprise architecture (EA) as challenges mount.

By putting the EA discipline to practice, utilities can bring together business strategy, processes and information assets, allowing the enterprise to better align its business with outlined goals. Typically, EA has focused on a utility's IT infrastructure, however, that sentiment is beginning to shift among power grid companies as IT and operations technology (OT) begin to travel along the same route.

"Many utilities understand the importance of enterprise architecture and have implemented it as a function of the IT department – often reporting directly to the CIO and focusing on the IT infrastructure," said Pike Research vice president Bob Gohn. "In the long run, however, the importance of EA to the smart grid requires that it reside in or interface more closely with business strategy and operations groups."

By properly networking IT and OT, utilities can offer better overall business-IT synergy, resource utilization, governance control and innovation.

SUBNET is well positioned to help utilities as they enter the next phase of smart grid deployment. SUBNET has developed several innovative interoperability solutions that stitch together the most advanced substation technologies with modern day networking and computer technologies, allowing companies to build a highly effective electric grid.

The solutions allow utilities to introduce new intelligence, such as substation automation, to substations and other grid infrastructure, resulting in more reliable and safe delivery of electricity to customers. With SUBNET's products, utilities can ensure they comply with strict NERC CIP standards, which can result in hefty fines if ignored. 

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