The Infosys Utilities Blog seeks to discuss and answer the industry’s burning Smart Grid questions through the commentary of the industry’s leading Smart Grid and Sustainability experts. This blogging community offers a rich source of fresh new ideas on the planning, design and implementation of solutions for the utility industry of tomorrow.

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Squeezing Asset Performance!

"Squeezing asset performance" is what a ratepayer seeks.
An avoided capital investment, whether it is in Power Plants, Transmission Lines, Substations, Distribution Assets or Meters, keeps the electricity rates stable.

Also reduced O&M and increased productivity helps in reducing the rates.
So what does it mean for a Utility; can the increasing energy demand be met without adding to the generation capacity or creating additional infrastructure?

The answer lies in applying simple concepts like 'car-pooling' and 'cloud-computing' to the electric grid coupled with advanced communication and information management.

Smart Grid components like AMI, DR, DMS/SCADA, CMMS, have the capability to collect useful data from the grid and process it in order to create the 'avoided' capital investment plan. This can be achieved without compromising on the grid safety and reliability.
Some of the application-functions that can be utilized to achieve this are:

1. Real-time Optimal Switching for load sharing between circuits and transformers
2. Demand Response involving auto-remote switching of air-conditioning/heating loads
3. Dynamic Pricing for flattening the load-curve
4. Distributed Generation including plug-in electric Cars
5. Auto-VAR Compensation for improved power quality and optimal equipment loads
6. Grid Alerts and Auto-Isolation using centralized remedial action schemes
7. PMUs to identify grid disturbances
8. Real-time Displays for monitoring energy consumption
9. Smart Customer interaction portals for customer education and participation in energy management initiatives

It's a three step process that can lead to an optimally utilized grid:

1. Collect data from every device critical for maintaining uninterrupted energy supply
2. Process data in order to extract useful information on grid stability in near and long term scenarios
3. Have the ability to remotely operate devices, preferably automatically, with built-in intelligence.

Sounds simple.... but as always the devil lies in the details.

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