By: Derek DiGiacomo, Senior Director, Energy Management Programs and Business Continuity SCTE•ISBE
Two grids of different age and purpose exist and share similar distribution infrastructure in our modern society. The first, the utility grid, is responsible for countless dollars, literally enables our everyday lifestyles in all developed nations, and sparks the communications revolution – the cable broadband industry. In our Giga-speed world, energy enables the second grid, the cable network grid, as we depend on kilowatts to provide gigabits to our customers. In a way we are like magicians converting energy into information, stories, innovation, lifelines and just about anything you can dream of. Inspecting this precious resource, there is a finite supply of energy. For cable operators, their critical facilities typically have a fixed amount of power from a utility provider. If demand exceeded current capacity, it could be upgraded but the utility provider would have to evaluate options and costs for this upgrade – typically the cost is very high.
This leads me to our Adaptive Power Challenge and the three areas of focus.
- Monitoring and measurement of power is our first area. It is critical to judge how changes in cable technology affect power consumption. Monitoring and measurement allows for trending analysis to raise red flags in the event demand begins to approach exhaustion of supply. Also, when monitoring and measuring power, cost controls and budget strategies can be instituted to help with financial predictability.
- Equally as important is our second focus area: demand response. Demand response is a program designed by utility providers to address capacity management during peak power usage. This creates stability on the power grid and helps drive availably of power. In the US we are fortunate to have a relatively stable grid. From generation to transmission to distribution, this infrastructure has served us well over the past 100 years. Demand for power will continually be challenged in coming years. Demand response and cable’s strategy to leverage this relatively new program can generate revenue for our participating operators (ultimately for the customer). As such demand response is a financial opportunity.
- The third and final area of focus is: supply and control; perhaps one of the areas of greatest innovation in the challenge. What if we could be more self-resilient and generate our own source of power? What if we had a creative way to distribute power around the critical facility? What if we could control our networks in such a way that there is a near one for one – watt for byte (that is the essence of APSIS™ – SCTE 216)?
I am truly excited to see what ideas we receive! #APChallenge