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Semantic Web Promises a Smarter Electricity Grid

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European researchers working on the S-TEN project have developed a generic framework for information and communications technology architectures and applied semantic Web technologies to make networks self describing. In such a network, each component, such as a volt meter or wind turbine in the case of a power grid, autonomously publishes information on what it is, where it is, and what it does. Creating energy sources, such as solar and wind farms, capable of creating semantic data understandable to both machines and humans should lead to more efficient automated grid management and better decision-support systems for human operators. Smart power grids could efficiently supply a town or city with locally generated power, and feed excess power into a wider supply network, creating a more cost-efficient system. "Instead of storing information in a centralized database, the S-TEN approach is for each node, each sensor or device connected to the network, to have its own intelligence," says Bernhard Schowe-von der Brelie, a researcher at the FGH research institute in Mannheim, Germany.

The network can be accessed through a Web interface to show current status, what objects are part of the network, and what they are doing. The interface also provides network monitoring and control to enable preventative maintenance strategies, Schowe-von der Brelie says.

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