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Smart Grid: Setting the Stage

Although many in the tech world have read the recent stories about erstwhile Cleantech darling Solyndra and its near-overnight shuttering, the overall Clean- and Greentech industries are doing well. LogLogic works closely with many brand leaders across industries, including more than 1 in 3 Utilities companies in the Fortune 500, which is the area we’d like to explore in this post.

We wanted to share a case study that shares details of LogLogic’s work in the Smart Grid space.

Setting the Stage

Smart Grid technology has been at the forefront of global news about energy transmission and distribution for some time now. And though people often think of Smart Grid as a single, cohesive initiative, in actuality Smart Grid encompasses a number of loosely related projects and technologies from Smart Meters to overarching Smart Grid initiatives and much more. Though diverse in purpose and features, these technologies give public utilities and energy companies the ability to proactively monitor energy networks in order to respond to peaks in energy usage and avoid crises such as blackouts, as well as more efficiently move electricity around the grid. Because these technologies gather data about energy usage, both on the larger grid and through Smart Meters on consumers, Smart Grid offers opportunities for efficiencies never before possible.

As Smart Grid technology grows in popularity, adoption and complexity, the need for standards, regulation and government assistance grows as well. The United States announced support for the Smart Grid a few years ago with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which among other things, set out $100 million in funding programs to help build Smart Grid capabilities and establish protocol standards. And across the pond in Europe, although only 10% of current households have a Smart Meter, the European Union recently announced a mandated goal of having Smart Meters in 80% of EU homes by 2020.

“Smart Grid is adding new, enabling technology to existing grid components, allowing us to greatly improve functionality,” says a security manager for a regional utility company. At a basic level, Smart Grid provides intelligent monitoring devices for aspects of the grid that were not previously monitored, particularly in the distribution and user space. It also includes intelligence at distribution sub-stations, and at transformers and devices in between that sub-station and the user’s house. At the consumer level, Smart Meters allow instrumentation and real time reporting of energy usage data at the individual customer end-point.

Though this technology promises significant improvements in efficiency across the industry, it also poses a number of significant challenges in terms of consumer data privacy concerns, as well as compliance with industry standards and best practices. How can players in the energy industry make the most of these new technologies, while protecting user data and maintaining the security of the national energy grid? 

Our next post gets into the myriad challenges of managing Smart Grid.

Categories: Compliance, Innovation

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More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.