Smart grid generally refers to a class of technology, being adopted by power companies to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries. They are beginning to be used on electricity networks, from the power plants and wind farms all the way to the consumers of electricity in homes and businesses. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers — mostly seen in big improvements in energy efficiency on the electricity grid and in the energy users’ homes and offices.
Building Today’s Modern Grid
Even Cisco, with their GridBlocks architecture products, provides a forward-looking view on how to integrate the electrical grid with a digital communications network. The architecture offers guidance on deployment of grid-specific applications, as well as providing a framework for designing and implementing comprehensive management and security solutions across the grid.
A platform based on the Cisco® GridBlocks Architecture integrates utility networks into a single, highly secure and reliable communications infrastructure across the various levels of utility operations. By supporting multiple applications on a converged network, it also provides a framework for integrating new technologies and utilityspecific applications. At the same time, its modular approach enables implementation of projects over time, allowing utilities to plan their investments and flexibly adapt to rapidly changing business circumstances. This extends the life of existing infrastructure investments as part of a grid modernization roadmap.
Meter Reader and Buggy Whips
For a century, utility companies have had to send workers out to gather much of the data needed to provide electricity. The workers read meters, look for broken equipment and measure voltage, for example. Most of the devices utilities use to deliver electricity have yet to be automated and computerized.
Spartan utilizes Zigbee systems to connect consumers to the power company billing meter and allows consumers accurate data on how much electricity their building is burning. These are a first-generation smart meter technology. They are intended to make it easy for utilities to collect meter readings. Instead of requiring access to your home, workers need simply drive or walk by a house with a handheld terminal and the current meter readings are they will transmit themselves to home base.
The “grid” amounts to the networks that carry electricity from the plants where it is generated to consumers. The grid includes wires, substations, transformers, switches and much more.
Much in the way that a “smart” phone these days means a phone with a computer in it, smart grid means “computerizing” the electric utility grid. It includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid.
Spartan Z Wave devices installed on building network run specific environmental and machine sensors to gather data (power meters, voltage sensors, fault detectors, etc.), plus two-way digital communication between the device and the Building Automation System
The number of applications that can be used on the smart grid once the data communications technology is deployed is growing as fast as inventive companies can create and produce them. Benefits include enhanced cyber-security, handling sources of electricity like wind and solar power and even integrating electric vehicles onto the grid.
Spartan connects at the utility meter and feeds this power usage and billing information into the Home Automation System.
Spartan clients have the need to connect and manage the LEED building they just completed. Owners must send Energy Meter Reports and other LEED reports to maintain membership. Spartan provides service contracts, online help services to meet these objectives.