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Distribution Management Ecosystems

By Phill Feltham

How utilities can yield significant operational benefits

BY JEFF WALZ, Siemens Smart Grid

As North American electric utilities continue to transform their existing electric delivery assets into a smarter grid, strong emphasis is placed on systems, products, and services that provide value in automating and managing the electric distribution network. Within this context, utilities are focusing on four main themes in distribution: reliability, efficiency, safety, and interoperability.

These themes relate directly to the operational objectives of distribution utilities but achieving these goals is becoming increasingly challenging. North America’s electricity grid infrastructure is aging, with many assets near or beyond their expected lifespans. Customer expectations with respect to reliability and power quality continue to grow, not only for commercial and industrial but for residential consumers as well. Moreover, the avail- ability and penetration of distributed energy resources, including renewable generation, is on the rise.

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