Cisco, working closely with Duke Energy, will develop a highly refined, end-to-end, smart grid communications architecture – one that both companies believe will be among the most comprehensive and interoperable in the electric utility industry.
The newly created architecture will be based on what the industry calls “internet protocol-based open standards” – an approach that permits easy accommodation of new and emerging communications technology as it becomes available in future years.
“Internet protocol-based open standards are key to creating a smart, highly-secure backbone for the nation’s modern electrical grid,” said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Emerging Technologies Group.
The two companies will jointly evaluate a variety of smart grid communications hardware and software, and oversee installation and testing of selected equipment and software throughout Duke Energy’s electric grid.
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key component of Duke Energy’s smart grid communications architecture is the communications node. The nodes are installed on the grid alongside electric power transformers located overhead and at ground level. Once in place, the devices gather data from numerous digital devices and sends it over a telecommunications network to Duke Energy, where the information is collected and used for various business purposes such as billing and power grid management.
“Duke Energy is building a secure smart grid network that will serve our customers today and for years to come,” said Duke Energy Chief Customer Officer Gianna Manes. “For customers to fully experience the benefits of a smarter power delivery system, we have to look beyond today’s technology and build a communications architecture that supports open, interoperable standards and enables the connection of a variety of digital devices that can evolve with future needs and changes.”
Duke Energy currently uses products developed by both Ambient and Echelon as part of its smart grid deployment efforts in Ohio, and in pilot projects in North Carolina and South Carolina.
“We have worked successfully with Ambient and Echelon in the past, and we are confident in their ability to deliver quality products,” Manes said. “Selecting both companies supports our desire to work with multiple vendors as we deploy digital technology throughout the five states we serve.”
“Ambient looks forward to continuing our five-year relationship with Duke Energy, having been the key contributor to the communications component in Duke’s smart grid architecture,” said John J. Joyce, president and CEO of Ambient Corporation. “We believe Duke Energy’s strategy, based on open protocols and technologies, will deliver benefits for all stakeholders.”