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Smart Grids: Dept of Energy Report & Cisco Thoughts, Part 2

August 7, 2009 - 3 Comments

The Dept of Energy last month (July 2009) released its Smart Grid System Report. In my first posting on this report, I noted which areas were rated as Moderate in penetration or forecasted market trending. Of note were the key areas of Pricing and Regulatory Process, and why both were only marked as Moderate for future trending, given their core role in paying for utilities’ massive investments in SmartGrid through more modern billing models and tariff policies. In Part 2 of this blog series, I’ll focus on a couple of the more IT-related areas of the 20 Smart Grid components noted in this report. (Caveat: I am from Cisco, and our role in Smart Grids is to leverage our experience in IT and communications to better enable both utilities and energy customers by bringing end-to-end communications + security to Smart Grids)As you’ve probably guessed, the more IT-related components of the 20 Smart Grid areas are rated as Nascent or Low in their current penetration. Specifically, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is rated Low for penetration, though High in trending. We’ve seen many announcements of AMI deployments over the last 2+ years, such as Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy in the United States, with AMI deployments forecast to grow from 8.7M in 2009 to 52M additional by 2012. What is not clearly listed, however, are the required communications infrastructure to connect AMI-enabled homes and businesses to the substation — a concept known as the neighborhood area network or NAN. I would rate penetration of NANs as somewhere between Nascent and Low, as the standards (Internet Protocol [IP], Zigbee, etc) are still being finalized, as well as the actual media types (wireless data networks, cellular networks, power lines, etc).Another area that’s clearly Nascent in penetration — but nationally critical — is Cyber Security. While Internet security has long been held as key for online transactions and e-commerce, Cyber Security for every country’s energy infrastructure and transmission is of top national priority. Given the ongoing work around communications standards, and current lack of standard architectures for AMI data gathering and transmission, this will be a top area of discussion and innovation for utilities’ Smart Grid teams and vendors alike. Encryption methods, attack protection, access control, logging, and many more detailed technical areas will need to get standardized, and best practices developed. Thus I would hope to see the trending on this critical component of the Grid move from Nascent to High very quickly!In the final edition of this blog series, we will focus on some of the additional Smart Grid components that were not covered in this report — though we know utilities are or will be focusing on near- to mid-term, including Smart Grid business and data management applications, as well as data centers needed to support that information processing.Join us and add your thoughts below on how IT components will be key to Smart Grid success — and safety — in the years to come…

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  1. It is interesting to see how the expansion of the internet connectivity has changed the communication between all interrelated networks. I do worry about internet security as my utility information is shared, you can do everything from buy structured settlements online, to monitor the lawn guy from a remote webcam.”

  2. I have been approached by a Company raising finance on behalf of a US company [ HQ in Texas ]called Smart Grid which are said to be partnered with Cisco to reduce energyby computerising electricity distribution worldwide.Are you aware of this development?

  3. Duke Awards Smart Grid Contract to AmbientBoston, MA – September 9,2009 – Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG) today announced a long-term agreement with Duke Energy to provide communication technologies for the utility’s next phase of its smart grid deployment. Duke is pleased to expandour relationship with Ambient through the execution of this agreement. Ambient’s two-way communication node advances our vision of building a smart grid intelligent network that supports the integration of numerous devices on the grid,”” said Todd Arnold, Duke Energy’s SVP of Smart Grid and Customer Systems. The contract calls forAmbient to provide its X-series communications node as the central communications technology to transmit data from residential and commercial smart meters, and other applications back to the utility’s network operations center. This communications node allows for the efficient collection, analysis and management of energy demand through collected usage data to promote more reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly operations. “”This contract continues astrong collaboration with Duke Energy from early smart grid development projects begun in 2005,”” said John J. Joyce, President and CEO of Ambient Corporation. “”We are pleased to work with Duke Energy to provide a key component of its communications platform, helping to achieve its vision for a smart grid network.”””^0^1^^^0^0
    20255^8365^Steve Ardire^^^^2010-02-09 22:37:18^2010-02-09 22:37:18^@ Kevin Kellspot on comment and harrumph for meritocracy as the key performance metric !^0^1^^^0^0
    18041^6661^Second Chance Checking^^^^2009-12-08 13:50:40^2009-12-08 13:50:40^I think that a lot of people do not understand how important saving time is. Not only does it save money, but it also decreases the chances of losing motivation. I know some of my teammates can lose motivation when projects run twice as long as they should have been.^0^1^^^0^0
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    15487^7739^Ron Hutzul^^^^2009-09-09 19:22:59^2009-09-09 19:22:59^”I totally agree with you – a presentation should be the live”” telling of a story, with your slides the “”storyboard””…I’ve been reading Dan Roam’s book, “”The Back of the Napkin””, about “”visual thinking”” and effectively communicating ideas – which leads me to consider how to include ‘virtual whiteboarding’ into presentations:see: http://sketch.odopod.comand: