If you heard the term Smart Grid 12 months ago, you might have wondered what it meant. Now, the term is everywhere. Even President Obama referred to Smart Grid in his first address to the Nation after his inauguration. Newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, domestic and international, are all discussing Smart Grid. Why? Because Smart Grid holds the promise of providing electricity to homes and businesses more efficiently, more reliably, and more securely. Smart Grid promises to eliminate blackouts, brownouts, sags and surges. Smart Grid goes hand in hand with use of renewables, and reduction of ozone depleting and global warming chemicals. And Smart Grid may very well help the long suffering energy consumer pick and choose from available services in order to better manage his/her exploding monthly electricity bill.
But, none of this is possible until the various stakeholders reach agreement on how power generation, transmission and distribution equipment will be integrated with communications and control devices and software to enable seamless and instantaneous interoperability within and between local and regional grids. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed NIST to work with NEMA and other key stakeholders to develop a framework for identifying and coordinating the many Smart Grid standards produced by dozens of interest groups. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recently created a high-level strategy group to do the same thing for international standards.
Yes, Smart Grid standards are on the drawing board. But timing is critical and the work must get done quickly in order for consumers to see any benefits. NEMA stands ready to bring stakeholders together to write the standards that will make the electricity grid Smart. To quote a well known maker of athletic wear — Just DO IT!!