Grid Benefits from Technology

9/26/2013

Smart energy projects continue to roll out around the world as organizations see the benefits of the technology. Smart grids can help both utilities and customers to better understand and manage energy consumption, and the technology that enables the smart grid is advancing.

By 2018, the number of communications node shipments associated with the smart grid will rise to 133.3 million worldwide, according to Navigant Research, www.navigantresearch.com. The analyst firm also says this number will be an increase from 91.8 million shipments in 2013. However, the volume of shipments will decline slightly in the 2019-2020 time period.

Navigant explains spending on smart-grid communications is increasing as utilities seek networks that can be used for more diverse applications. In addition to smart metering, services such as distribution automation are valued.


The smart grid market is changing quickly, says Navigant. In past years, many smart grid communications devices were part of proprietary systems, but today standards-based technologies are becoming more common. The acceptance of standards benefits the aims of cooperation among the various stakeholders in the marketplace.

New smart metering projects continue to expand around the world. Recently, Silver Spring Networks, www.silverspringnet.com, announced a plan to deliver a smart metering-as-a-service solution to retail energy providers. The company will work with Metrix, www.metrixinfo.co.nz, a metering service provider, on the solution.

The first deployment will be for Counties Power, a company that manages electricity lines and serves customers in New Zealand. The company will make use of the Silver Spring networking platform and software to provide metering-as-a-service to energy retailer clients.

Silver Spring Networks is also working on smart energy in Brazil. The company says it has completed a smart grid rollout in Sao Paulo for CPFL Energia, www.cpfl.com.br, a Brazilian energy provider. Once the next phase of the project is complete, CPFL expects to have more than 25,000 commercial and industrial customers connected.

The energy provider hopes to deploy the smart grid to residential, low-voltage customers later in 2013, as well as partnering with Silver Spring on a distribution automation project. This project will guard the grid from failures, allowing it to automatically redirect energy flows through alternative channels in case of a problem. The project should lead to a more reliable power grid.

Implementations of smart grid continue to grow as energy providers see how the technology can increase their efficiency and promote a stronger grid. This is true around the world, and improved efficiency will ultimately help to conserve energy on a global scale.

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