Cloud-Based DER Gets Compact
Distributed Energy Resources Thrive on the Edge
With a huge focus on the environmental impact of power generation, energy operators are looking to evolve the grid towards an “energy cloud”. In this energy cloud, electricity generated from multiple, renewable, distributed energy resources (DER) is used to complement energy generated from traditional centralized sources. The integration of these diverse resources is not straightforward and requires real-time data to ensure reliable grid operations, network stability and payment models.
As the amount real-time data increases, utilities energy operators become increasingly dependent on the telecommunication infrastructure to provide critical ‘always-on’ connectivity. With this combination of DER and real-time communications energy operators are able to offer smart grid capabilities, like advanced metering systems, end-to-end cyber security and integration of IT and operations technology.
An Edgy Problem
While the energy cloud has distinct advantages, it also has some challenges to overcome before the full potential of DER is realized. For one thing, a lot of the DER energy sources are in remote locations that are much harder to get to and experience more extreme environments than the traditional centralized sources. Almost by definition, then, they must be operated without continual, on-site, monitoring and maintenance. The only real solution for this challenge is hardened DIN-rail managed packet transport (MPT) edge devices.
Many of those locations have had to rely on compact or non-assisted cabinets with strict environmental and size requirements. Such edge devices will have to support Ethernet and MPLS and provide industrial -grade service assurance —all in a compact form factor. And if the MPT doesn’t support SDN applications and NFV services, it’s a level-one error.
What We’ve Done
Foreseeing these issues, we’ve been diligently striving toward a solution, and recently released the compact NPT-1010D hardened DIN-rail managed packet transport (MPT) edge device. This durable, intelligent switch provides continual monitoring and requires reduced maintenance even in extreme environments. I am also happy to say that it is the most compact switch on the market. Supporting the now-compulsory SDN applications and NFV services, it offers an end to end metro solution for high-performance services through convergence of MEF CE2.0 certified Ethernet, MPLS-TP, IP/MPLS, OTN and WDM.
In the End
Ultimately, utility and transport industries of all types can now, building out an intelligent power distribution network that incorporates solar and wind, as they migrate to a smart grid. With remotely monitored and controlled solutions, utilities can greatly improve edge management and utilization even in remote locations that have strict environmental and size requirements – a common need for edge devices. It is a sign of the times that energy operators are moving to require industrial-grade service assurance, moving past the 5 nines availability that is typically quoted for carrier-grade service assurance.
DER is advancing quickly, especially now that there are far more optimal devices with increased, robust features and services.
To learn more about our newest member of the NPT family, built with the DER in mind, download our product note.