Much of the smart grid’s strength lies in its use of wireless technology to improve monitoring, information flow and efficiency. As powerful as that combination may be, a couple of California utilities have taken it to a new low. That is to say they have taken it underground.
Projects to build and expand broadband networks often bring construction to established neighborhoods, challenging project owners and contractors to build underground networks with minimal disruption of routine activities and limited surface damage.
Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, unprecedented rainfalls and record-high 500-year flooding levels in 2011 have all together caused massive damage to the grid, homes, businesses and public infrastructure and billions in damage costs.
As the electric grid develops to incorporate renewable generation, more robust transmission and smart meters, utilities are beginning to work on the final segment of delivery by automating their distribution networks.