Very good report just released by ISO New England on smart grid policies, initiatives, and needs. For those searching for information on this issue, this provides a thorough overview. And whad'ya know, NEMA's mentioned on the first page (the Executive Summary, no less!) —
A fundamental assertion of the EISA Smart Grid is that the existing transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure is capable of delivering greater efficiencies, and simply adding more generators and transmission lines is not the sole answer to Americas energy needs going forward, as indicated by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS): The goal is to use advanced, information-based technologies to increase power grid efficiency, reliability, and flexibility, and reduce the rate at which additional electric utility infrastructure needs to be built.
While the report clearly demonstrates the value of implementing a smart grid, it also notes that the challenges are daunting — the lack of standards and shifting to a more distributed system relying on smaller variable-output resources are two of the issues mentioned. That's one of the reasons President Obama has thrown the weight (and money) of the federal government behind the initiative. And why NEMA is very well positioned, as one of the nation's foremost SDOs, to help bring his dream to fruition.