By Erin Harrison
The super-efficient generation and transmission initiative known as the smart grid is giving electric utilities around the world new challenges and opportunities as they strive to meet increasing demand while deferring additional fossil energy generation projects.
Researchers at Alcatel-Lucent believe the best way for these power suppliers to find balance with new imperatives and consumer expectations is to push innovation deeper into the distribution networks. In an interesting piece, “Smart Grid: The world's leading utilities turn promise into reality,” market leaders explain how they benefit from innovations with the smart grid.
For instance, Kamal Ballout, global vice president for Alcatel-Lucent Energy Solutions Integration Division, explains the challenges power utilities face, which include efficiency, infrastructure and new regulations. He states that these include, “Making power delivery more efficient, upgrading aging infrastructure, meeting higher security expectations, dealing with stricter regulations, and efficiently integrating and managing renewable energy resources.” He added, that simultaneously consumers have higher expectations in terms of their desire for control and understanding of their energy usage, more reliability, power for electric vehicles, a way to deliver greener energy, and other concerns, he explained.
“This is the focus point for Alcatel-Lucent,” Ballout said. “As a company we see the best way for suppliers to find balance with consumer expectations and other imperatives is to push innovation deeper into the distribution networks.”
Alcatel-Lucent offers power suppliers an integrated communications solution as a smart grid enabler. It extends utility communication networks to provide visibility and control throughout both transmission and distribution grids. This aptly named transformation solution, which currently runs across 80 smart grid networks around the world, provides advanced applications to increase:
- Grid reliability
- Energy security
- Asset efficiency
- Support of renewable energy and electric vehicle (EV)
Ultimately, the smart grid is poised to provide consumers with better reliability, fewer outages, faster response times to issues, reduced cost and increased efficiency. It also will create a safer environment for growth thanks to the integration of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions on a macro and micro level.