If Smart Grid technology is to work, the entire communications industry will have to align with the information technology and power and energy industries, with the input of manufacturers, policymakers, educators, academics, governments, engineers, computer scientists, researchers and others. Simply getting everyone involved together is a gargantuan task, so the IEEE is trying to establish a central clearinghouse of information with its Smart Grid Web Portal.

Wanda Reder, 2008-09 president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and chair of the IEEE Smart Grid Task Force, said: “Contributions from across the global power and energy, communications and IT industries, as well as government and academia, are needed to ensure successful implementation of Smart Grid throughout the world. The IEEE Smart Grid Web Portal is designed to be an essential resource for anyone involved in Smart Grid, whatever their industry or technical discipline.”

Currently – no pun intended – it is simply not possible to know in full detail what is going on in the worldwide power grid. The concept of a “Smart Grid” is to manage not only the electrical power system and power delivery, but also consumption of electrical energy.

The IEEE, through its Smart Grid initiative announced last May, intends to organize, coordinate, leverage and build upon the strength of various entities within and outside of the IEEE with Smart Grid expertise and interest.

The IEEE says it alone has more than 100 standards published and in development that are crucial to the Smart Grid, spanning digital information and controls technology, networking, security, reliability, assessment, interconnection of distributed resources, including renewable energy sources to the grid, sensors, electric metering, Broadband over Power Line (BPL) and systems engineering.

An overview of those standards is available.

Communications standards used by other branches of the electronics industry will also have to be brought in.

“The Smart Grid is a revolutionary undertaking, entailing new capabilities for communications and control, integration of new energy sources, distributed generation and adoption of a regulatory structure,” said Erich Gunther, chairman and CTO with EnerNex and a member of the Department of Energy (DOE) GridWise Architecture Council. “Successful rollout requires a phenomenal diversity of expertise and experience, proven standards-development capability and shared vision.”

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