April 8, 2010 – The smart energy standards introduced in the US by the Zigbee Alliance have been central smart grid plans in the US, which are now well advanced.
This link-up means that HAN-compliant smart meters will soon be WiFi-enabled, allowing them to securely interface with energy company networks using the internet, routing the data calls via consumer or business broadband connections.
The flow of data will eventually become two-way, with the energy companies able to monitor and control energy supplies in homes and offices from the network itself, and so better balance the power needs of the of population with the generating supply from the network.
There are concerns about security in some quarters, as a smart grid poses a major target for hackers and terrorist groups, and this is why the ZigBee Alliance – along with the smart grid industry – are working to create highly secure standards for smart meter interconnections.
Zigbee will open up a European headquarters and work with the EU, as well as energy meter suppliers across Europe, to develop HAN-compliant smart meters for installation in the UK and several other European countries.
The alliance says that more than 90 European-based organisations from 19 different European countries are already involved in its membership, and account for more than 25% of members.
Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance, said that the alliance has enjoyed widespread European support since its inception and expanding its efforts on this side of the Atlantic will allow the group to be more available to European standards organisations as they plan for the future.
"We believe that deeper and broader collaboration will allow ZigBee smart energy to emerge as the best wireless HAN choice for European smart grid standardisation", he said.
In parallel with the plans to open a European headquarters, the alliance says it has agreements with the European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) and Device Language Message Specification (DLMS) user association in place.