Distributed Intelligence Drives Clean Energy

  • October 14, 2015
  • Gregory J. Hill
  • Reading Time: < 1
  • print

It’s not just regulatory pressure like the Clean Power Plan driving change in the power sector. A gradual shift toward renewables means dealing with unpredictable power generation (for example, gusty winds or the sun going behind a cloud). This, in turn, requires intelligence at the edge to compensate with faster response. Imagine an edge node instantaneously load balancing generation to avoid high- and low-voltage problems in a renewables-based microgrid. Smart devices are proliferating, creating a massive amount of data that centralized systems can’t handle. Enabling intelligence at the edge, helps control the amount of data sent to centralized systems.

According to Forbes, utilities are becoming more receptive to microgrids and distributed generation as additions to their business models, but they remain unable to abandon their substantial investments in monolithic legacy systems. The challenge is to move toward increased sustainability without reducing security or affordability. To this end, distributed and centralized management systems have to work together. Smart devices have to talk to each other, make decisions and solve problems without overwhelming the control center with data.

This shift toward interoperability will be powered by a variety of hardware, from rack-mounted servers to ruggedized devices on pole tops and everywhere in between. Each device needs to provide secure mission-critical communication using standard protocols such as IP. Remote management and configuration are key.

CalAmp’s broad portfolio of devices and services offer secure standards-based IP communication with IP and MAC authentication, VPN over IPsec, and encryption. To ensure ongoing interoperability with future technologies, CalAmp devices offer remote firmware and configuration management. CalAmp Telematics Cloud and the CalAmp Appstore enable third-parties to develop and deploy value-added applications that facilitate distributed data analysis and faster decision-making at the grid edge. This helps drive the adoption of renewable energy by making the grid more scalable and flexible, and by allowing devices to solve problems themselves without help from the control center.

Learn more about how CalAmp is helping to support utilities through intelligent grid management.