U.S. Smart Grid Interoperability Panel starts its work


Steve Widergren,
Chair, SGIP
Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 15, 2009 – The United States Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s (SGIP) governing board has started its work by appointing Steve Widergren, a principal engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as plenary chair of the panel.

At its first meeting on December 8 and 9, the SGIP also began laying plans to support the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) effort to coordinate the expedited development of technical standards for the nation’s smart grid.

The SGIP was launched in mid-November by the NIST as a public-private partnership to provide input to accomplishing a key goal of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007: building a secure and interoperable smart electric grid (see Smart Grid Interoperability Panel governing board elected).

Widergren, who has served as administrator of the GridWise Architecture Council and as smart grid interoperabilty and standards coordinator for the Department of Energy, will organize and preside over meetings of the entire SGIP. He also will appoint the chairs of the panel’s two standing committees – one on smart grid architecture and the other on interoperability testing and conformance.

“Advancing interoperability as a strategic smart grid enabler is a cause worthy of service,” said Widergren. “To be selected as the first SGIP plenary chair is an honor I accept with humility for the task before us and with respect for the great progress made by the NIST team with all stakeholders over the last several months, culminating in the establishment of an impressive SGIP governing board.”

Now numbering 23 members (18 of whom participated in the first meeting), the governing board prioritizes the work of the SGIP, and it will consult regularly with standards development organizations, user groups and others directly involved in smart grid standardization efforts. The board will coordinate resources necessary to carry out finalized SGIP action plans in an efficient and effective manner.

Members also will serve as liaisons to domestic and international organizations engaged in or affected by standardization efforts relevant to the modernization of electric power systems.

The SGIP, which comprises more than 400 organizations spread among 22 smart grid stakeholder categories, has three primary functions: to oversee activities intended to expedite the development of interoperability and cyber security specifications by standards setting organizations; provide technical guidance to facilitate development of standards for a secure, interoperable smart grid; and specify testing and certification requirements necessary to assess the interoperability of smart grid-related equipment.

Other governing board business included initiating a call for candidates to fill the four open stakeholder category positions on the board, i.e. electric transportation industry, municipal utilities, electricity and financial market traders (including aggregators), and venture capital.

The board also began making preparations to provide input to future versions of the framework and roadmap for smart grid interoperability standards and the smart grid cyber security strategy and requirements.

The EnerNex Corp. serves under contract as the SGIP administrator.