Smart Grid: It's All About Communications

The pressure is mounting to determine how well the smart grid — and particularly the communications system, the central nervous system of the smart grid — has performed under stress and whether increasing investment in the communications system is the answer.

According to Transmission & Distribution World, although the new normal may be an increasing frequency of violent superstorms like Sandy, there is no doubt those storms have proved the value of a smart grid. 

Prior to Sandy, the federal government invested nearly $4 billion in stimulus funds in the smart grid. But, “there wasn't a lot of smart grid equipment deployed in the area Sandy [most directly] impacted,” said Doug Houseman, vice president of technical innovation at EnerNex. That is a problem with any direct analysis of smart grid benefits. However, areas to the south of New York and New Jersey — particularly Philadelphia, Baltimore and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area — do offer important lessons....