7 new problem-solving smart grid technologies

With DistribuTECH on the calendar next week, you can expect a slew of product announcements from smart grid companies camping out in San Antonio. So we thought we’d get a jump on it with some recent new product releases that caught our attention. And as a bonus, check out the free reference tool from the Electric Power Research Institute that helps evaluate the benefits and impacts of various electricity generation technologies.
1). Tropos ups the security ante:
Tropos recently announced two new security products. The company says its new Mesh OS Release 7.7 provides the industry’s first Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)-based solution to extend secure wireless smart grid communications through substations to distribution automation endpoints such as recloser, capacitor bank and voltage regulator controllers. Take a look at the press release here.
Sunnyvale, CA-based Tropos also launched its 1410 family of broadband wireless bridges and routers for field automation applications, extending advanced enterprise-class security to utility applications that monitor and control field automation devices The company said the new products deliver the industry’s most advanced set of standards-based security features for the price point — Press release.
2). GE’s tech helps spot grid stress sooner:
GE Energy released an enhanced wide area monitoring solution designed to improve the way utilities monitor and analyze power over a large geographic area. GE is offering a new secure, high capacity Phasor Data Concentrator (PDC), Multilin P30, along with enhanced PMUs to provide faster, more accurate information.
“One of the greatest benefits that wide area monitoring technologies can deliver is the ability to prevent widespread blackouts in which different interconnected systems are out of balance,” said Juan Macias, GM for grid automation in GE’s Digital Energy business. Read the press release here.
3). Retroficiency’s solution assesses commercial building efficiency virtually:
Boston-based Retroficiency introduced Virtual Energy Assessment (VEA) — a sophisticated data analytics solution that the company says can accurately determine actionable energy savings opportunities in buildings without stepping on-site or installing specialized hardware. Using only a building’s address and its energy consumption interval data, VEA enables utilities, energy service providers and others to rapidly prioritize a portfolio of commercial buildings and cost-effectively identify potential energy efficiency improvements related to heating, cooling, lighting, building controls and more. The company is currently piloting Virtual Energy Assessment with multiple large utilities, including Iberdrola USA, which serves nearly 2.5 million customers in New York and Maine; and energy service providers, including Schneider Electric. More here.
4). Schweitzer releases its DNA:
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories released their complete distribution automation solution: DNA (for Distribution Network Automation). The DNA system is designed to pinpoint faults, optimize volt/VAR control, detect downed conductors, and automatically sectionalize and reconfigure distribution circuits to restore service as quickly as possible after a fault. “Individual devices, such as recloser, voltage regulator, and capacitor controls as well as faulted circuit indicators, have been used for years in point applications,” said Bob Morris, R&D director of power systems for the Pullman,WA-based company. “But today DNA integrates these devices into a complete system for faster service restoration and improved grid efficiency.” Check out the release.
5). GridMaven’s new approach to smart grid communications:
GridMaven Utility Solutions, a division of South Korea’s SK Telecom based in Sunnyvale, CA, takes a slightly different approach to the problem of managing a utility smart grid communications network. Its GridMaven Network Manager (GNM) lets operators manage a variety of different networks from a single management console. The company describes GNM as a powerful software product that sits atop utility communication networks, allowing operators to manage them as a system and ensuring real-time delivery of mission-critical data. More in the release.
6). GarretCom’s substation computer can deal with stress
Fremont, CA- based GarrettCom, which provides industrial networking products for specialty and stressed applications, announced its Magnum 10C Substation-hardened computer. The Magnum 10C is part of GarrettCom’s family of next-generation substation offerings specifically designed for power utility applications and other extreme environments. The computer is designed to enable mission-critical applications to withstand extreme temperatures, power surges and fast transients, as well as other issues present in harsh environments.
7). EPRI reference tool helps evaluate electricity generation technologie:
EPRI has released an interactive, easy-to-use reference tool that enables users to evaluate the benefits and impacts of electricity generation technologies in a number of key areas. This online version of a previously released printed reference card enables users to compare technologies — renewables, coal, natural gas and nuclear — with respect to variables such as construction costs, emissions, waste products and the ability to generate electricity when needed.
It includes an interactive matrix that allows users to mouse over color-coded “favorability bubbles” to obtain supporting information for a given generation technology. In another portion of the website, users can interact with a U.S. map to see how the generation mix varies by region and how it compares to the country’s overall generation portfolio. You can find the reference tool by clicking on the “Exploring Options” item in the bottom Spotlight section of the EPRI web site.
This article originally appeared on SmartGridNews.com. SmartGridNews.com is the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site. Visit for up-to-the-minute analysis of smart grid trendssmart grid technology and smart grid companies. Sign up for the free email newsletter or follow SGN on Twitter.