DTECH: Driving smart grid in a post-SGIG world

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DistribuTECH 2013 in San Diego, California, had it all: Demand response, customer-based analytics, system wide architectures/platforms, advanced solutions for water utilities, distribution automation, optimization, cyber security and data privacy, "self-healing" grids -- and the most innovative minds in the industry to bring them all together.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) is quickly turning the region's electric grid into one of most advanced and reliable energy systems in the nation. DistibuTECH 2013 served as a platform for SDG&E thought leaders to share their self-healing smart grid strategy and the technologies they are using to create an increasingly resilient and responsive energy network. Read about those technologies, including fault locators and detectors, here.

Zpryme analysts tell me that the emergence of these types of solutions and technologies indicate both vendors and utilities will increase investments in such areas in 2013. More importantly, this reveals a trend that utilities are ready to move past advanced metering infrastructure deployments into the next realm of smart grid projects. 

Although overall sentiment at the conference was enthusiastic and positive, some expressed disappointment that fewer projects were announced this year -- not completely unexpected, however, in light of smart grid investment grant (SGIG) funding from the Department of Energy winding down.

"U.S. utilities and vendors must adopt to the post U.S. SGIG world -- meaning that business need must drive future investments, and solutions must also meet that business need," Zpryme CEO Jason Rodriguez said.

In light of dwindling U.S. grants, expect international projects to receive increased attention in the coming year.

Stay tuned for next year's DistribuTECH in San Antonio, Texas, which analysts predict could see the emergence of sensors, renewable integration software, EVs and EV infrastructure, and third-party service providers. -- Barb

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