Sunday, 19 June 2011

Integrated Critical Communications Infrastructure for Smart Grid

Integrated Critical Communications Infrastructure for Smart Grid at Connectivity Week

On the 25th May 2011 at the Connectivity Week conference in Santa Clara, California USA , there was a very informative session and the main focus was on wireless networks to be used for Smart Grid Critical Communications.

“ Critical communications infrastructure that supports the likes of military , emergency services and law enforcement is protected to serve the public good and is not subject to everyday market focus.

Electricity is a strategic asset for all modern economics and adequate safeguards are needed to protect grid in much the same way.

One way of doing this is to allow utilities to share the dedicated spectrum and radio frequencies that support that support essential services.

The purpose of this session is to elucidate the rationale for utilities use of wireless to send and receive critical communications related to Smart Grid. “ [ Allan Weissberger ]

The key characteristics of the Critical Communications Infrastructure as highlighted by Kat Shoa from The Directive Group are :

    Supports military , emergency response and law enforcement
    Fundamental to public safety during emergencies
    Spans broad geographical areas
    QoS of utmost importance  Public vs. private networks  Security : physical security , data security  Integration / deployment timelines

Howard Liu , Network Architect , Southern California Edison (SCE)

His presentation shed light to what cutting edge utility has done to build and operate its own network.

His suggestions were :

               Utilities have to build their own integrated communications network for applications eg. Disaster recovery
                       They have to develop a road map for executing their network strategy
                       An integrating different sub-networks as a key issue

The other key points highlighted by Howard were :

SCEnet has been performing well for over 15 years SCE’s Unified Communications Architecture anticipates all enterprise communications needs

SCE’s Integrated Critical Communications Infrastructure has a vision of a Layered Communications Architecture

Utilities had to build their own Integrated Critical Infrastructure for Critical Applications

SCE will consider complementing that with a Telco company going forward

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Five Simple Ways to Tap Your Greatest Power

Five Simple Ways to Tap Your Greatest Power

Consumers may be the greatest untapped resource a utility has in the move towards the smart grid . Customers can be empowered to manage their own energy consumption and make behavioural changes that are favourable towards energy management. The potential for energy savings are enormous for both utilities and consumers.

One of the biggest challenges may very well be getting customers to change their energy consumption behaviours . Fortunately , recent studies have shown that consumers want to go green. Home owners in focus groups conducted by Green Research responded favourably to the idea that better information would give them greater control over their energy use

There are five basic principles that utilities can employ that can help turn customers into a great source of power .

Namely they are :

1. Educate

Utilities simply need to educate consumers of all opportunities the smart grid provides and how variable pricing and smart meters will arm them with the information they need to actively manage and reduce their energy costs.

2. Engage

Getting the customers attention and holding it by giving them a compelling reason to be involved in a conservation as a partner right from the start. By encouraging to take part in making a difference in not only their own energy output but that of the larger community as a whole will ultimately get consumers engaged in the bigger cause of energy efficiency.

3. Empower

The smart grid will allow consumers unprecedented access to their homes real time electricity usage information . Thus , customers will feel empowered by having control over their own energy usage and output as well as what they pay on a monthly basis.

4. Emphasize

Utilities need to emphasize that the smart grid can help them respond more efficiently to variable power production introduced by renewable sources , power outages and ultimately build fewer and decrease the use of carbon based power plants.

5. Equip

Utilities should provide the best option and tools to make home energy management possible. User friendly smart meters and home energy management systems with high tech flashy features will be important in attracting early adaptors who can be key influencers within the customer base. Giving customers what they want will ultimately benefit the utility by driving profits up and saving energy in peak demand periods.