Move towards standardisation for the Smart Grid across all segments

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Atlanta, GA —METERING.COM — November 12, 2008 – Recently, the GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC) briefed the ARC Advisory Group — an American research and advisory firm for manufacturing, energy, and supply chain solutions — about the work they are doing and the role they hope to play in helping US industry move to the future Smart Grid.

The 2007 US Energy Independence and Energy Security Act (EISA) gave the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) the primary responsibility for coordinating the development of an interoperability framework for Smart Grid devices and systems. NIST will publish an initial report on progress toward recommended or consensus standards and protocols in December, 2008. NIST will eventually make recommendations on standards for adoption by the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC), a part of DoE. Once FERC decides that there is sufficient industry consensus on standards, EISA calls for FERC to begin the rulemaking process to adopt those standards.

GWAC and its upcoming report will compile a landscape of standards and practices. The landscape is presently segmented as:

  • Building-to-Grid (B2G)
  • Industrial-to-Grid (I2G)
  • Home-to-Grid (H2G)
  • Transmission and Distribution (T&D)

Other working areas may be created dealing with cross-domain concerns, such as security and policy. The I2G landscape includes service interfaces between industrial plants and the grid. This segment includes electric central stations as well as all types of manufacturing operations. In early 2009, GWAC will be presenting this I2G landscape to stakeholders and solicit feedback. GWAC and ARC Advisory Group are now discussing ways to gather feedback from industry during ARC’s Orlando Forum in February, 2009.

The importance of the GWAC work is that it may eventually result in US federal regulations. US electric utilities are subject to a bewildering patchwork of state and federal regulators, which is a serious barrier to scale-up of Smart Grid and Advanced Metering technologies. The objective of EISA is to provide a uniform and national Smart Grid framework that many state regulators can use. Such widespread use would provide economies of scale and spur the development of new products and services. Industry represents a key constituency in such plans. Though most utilities have only a small fraction of industrial customers, their operations are very energy-intensive. Their factories and plants represent opportunity to improve gird performance without deploying the large-scale systems that are required for interaction with residential electric customers.