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By Jesse Berst
A new research study from Newton-Evans found several interesting trends, as you can read in the press release on page 2. What caught my eye was documentation of a disturbing failure by U.S. utilities to stay up to date with standards and best practices.
It's well known that U.S. utilities have been loath to embrace the 61850 substation standard that Europe has adopted with much success. The Newton-Evans study reveals other failures to adopt standards and best practices. For instance, two-thirds of European utilities have adopted key parts of a service-oriented architecture (SOA), an essential piece of the enterprise strategy strongly recommended by the Electric Power Research Institute. Yet only a paltry one-fifth of North American utilities are on the SOA path.
Yes, I know that it's often cheaper in the short run to stick with yesterday's methods. And I know that it is hard to find and afford top-notch IT staff to implement an enterprise architecture. But it is far more costly in the long run to cling to outmoded methodologies, which can lock a utility away from the future.
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.
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