Seattle, WA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- July 6, 2009 - The implementation of distribution and substation automation, outage management, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and various other technologies are all leading to a digitally enabled, self-healing power network that provides equitably priced electricity to all classes of customers through ensuring the security, quality, reliability and availability of power.

It will take time to evolve into a truly and fully integrated intelligent grid, yet it is happening now as a megatrend of large potential impact – $28 billion will be spent in the next five years on transmission and distribution projects, much of it adding intelligence to existing systems.

In a new White Paper, “The destiny of intelligent infrastructure,” Mark Gabriel, senior vice president and principal of R. W. Beck, Inc. says that companies are challenged in their ability to adapt to and take full advantage of digitally intelligent system operations. These technologies require companies to think about management and operations in a new way. The constant flow of information coming from intelligent networks means a company can operate in real time, using real data – enterprise wide – and this will require process reorientation. Companies need to understand their processes and be willing to reinvent their companies in order to gain the full impact of operational efficiency and the many benefits that are delivered by a fully integrated intelligent system.

However, investing in new infrastructure at a time of rising energy prices and rising demand remains the major challenge for companies. Trying to balance the needs of a vastly improved and intelligent system with the cost requires a change in management philosophy, risk taking and regulatory mindsets. The fear of technology failure is not really at the core of this issue; it is rather the fear of making an investment with an uncertain time horizon and payback. Certainly there is some technology risk, but adding sensors and control across a broad part of a system represents costs without significant risks.

The challenge is that costs cannot easily be justified in a short period of time. Therefore, the need is to balance the risk with the reward system. It will require taking some chances in an industry that is not known for taking a gamble. However, the payoff and opportunities are great as the industry meets the challenge.

To read the White Paper click here: The destiny of intelligent infrastructure