Monday, June 13, 2011

White House Policy Framework for 21st Century Grid

The White House has published today “A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future”.

“The report delineates four overarching pillars that the Administration will pursue in order to ensure that all Americans benefit from investments in the Nation’s electric infrastructure. These pillars describe how we can move forward to secure benefits of a smarter grid:

  1. “Scale what works” to enable cost-effective smart grid investments
  2. Unlock the innovation potential in the electricity sector with a continued focus on open standards
  3. Empower consumers with education, access to their own energy usage information in consumer- and computer- friendly formats, and improved privacy safeguards and consumer protections
  4. Continue to secure the grid against natural or other disasters.”

Click HERE to download the report [PDF].

The speakers of the event “Building the 21st Century Grid" focused on the need to change the way how we generate, transport, store, distribute, and use electric power. There is a high potential for convert to a more efficient electric power system. One key player in this regard is to apply open standards.

Secretary Mr Chu (DoE) said: “We have no authority …” to force the market to do this or that … all the Government can do is keep the R&D and discussions going on – and expect that the most efficient solutions (on how to generate, transport, store, distribute, and use electric power) will win the battle.

Several global “winners” are already known: Standards published by IEC TC 57 and TC 88 like IEC 61968/61970 CIM, IEC 60870-6 ICCP, IEC 62351 on Security, IEC 61850 on utility automation, and IEC 61400-25 on Wind Turbine Communication. These “standards will [according to the report] not be mandatory. In short, regulators should publicly embrace the interoperability standards with the understanding that they will continue to develop with the ongoing evolution in smart grid technology …” [page 29].

In some cases the continuation of development will be very slow, e.g., in ICCP. While other standards, like the information models in CIM and IEC 61850 will continue to grow while we go. The technology will not be frozen (it cannot stop to develop)! That’s good news!!

One of the crucial aspects is that NIST and the DoE do obviously not expect that myriads of competing (de jure) standards should be embraced! … like in other industries.

Today is a good day for the standardization efforts!

Keep going!

I hope that the power industry will now stop discussing protocols … and start or continue to focus on APPLICATIONS using these standards. The standards are just a vehicle or a tool box. Meters, models and protocols do not make a Grid Smart! It is the Smart People that will use the standards and build many applications using them!

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