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Dispatches from DistribuTech: settling the frontier of the grid’s edge

Jeff st john | greentech media | 17 february 2016 

To read the full article in Greentech Media, click here.

The DistribuTech conference has seen many changes in themes and attendance patterns over the years, mirroring the inflation and bursting of last decade’s green technology investment bubble.

Last week’s conference proved that key utility initiatives long stuck at the demonstration-project scale are starting to yield results – potentially helping vendors and utilities move more quickly into broad commercial-scale deployment.

The frontier of the grid edge is starting to become settled.

Chip Scott said: “A lot of the things we were talking about three to four years ago – DERMS and DRMS and microgrids, and all these things on the horizon – we’re starting to see people talk about their successes. Over time, DistribuTech went from a hardware to software show. Now all the services companies are here. The hardware and software players are coming along. I’m seeing a number of customers biting off on data analytics, but it’s on a very specific need.”

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On a more advanced front, U.K. startup Smarter Grid Solutions and Cincinnati-based software vendor Integral Analytics are combining real-time DER control and long-term distribution grid planning for utilities in states on the forefront of the distributed energy revolution, such as California and New York.

Chip added: “This is the classic IT-OT integration challenge. And let’s not forget communications – as they put more technology and devices in the field, can they support it?”

At DistribuTech this year, PA Consulting unveiled its Next Generation Utility Thought Leadership Series, alongside GTM, to explore the future of the electricity business.

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