Distribution Grid Monitoring Technologies

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How to improve situational awareness of grid operations

BY MARK FEDERLE, QinetiQ North America

The adoption of Smart Grid technology in recent years has accelerated the modernization of the electric utility grid. This is a positive development given that the grid infrastructure in North America is, on average, close to 50 years old. Notably, staying on pace with modernization trends evident in other major industries such as automotive, semiconductors, and telecommunications has not been a priority for the electric
utility industry.

In fact, if Thomas Edison time warped to present day, there would be very little in the current underlying grid architecture and technology that he would not recognize. Broad adoption of advanced metering infrastructures and other Smart Grid technology is finally leading to significant change.

Electric utilities are on the cusp of major changes, pressed by the impacts of a combination of aging infrastructure as well as the increasing use of distributed generation and renewable power.

New technology for monitoring distribution systems offers utilities the means to manage their networks more effectively with enhanced real-time visibility of network conditions, while having an immediate, positive effect on operating expenses and customer satisfaction.

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