SAN JOSE, Calif. The IEEE will kick off an effort to define standards for a smart electric grid in a meeting hosted at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. on June 3-5. The IEEE 2030 group aims to gather computer, communications and power engineers to draft a design guide to smart grid interoperability issues that could spawn a family of standards.
In a sign of interest in smart grid technology, registration for the on-site meeting—announced to IEEE members earlier—has already far exceeded its 150-person limit. The group hopes to make a Webcast available for those who cannot attend. Online registration is open through May 22.
Industry executive say smart grid standards are needed to drive deployments. The IEEE initiative, approved in March, could deliver a high-level guide to systems-level interoperability issues for smart grids in two years or less, according to Dick DeBlasio, a program manager at the National Renewable Energy Lab who helped organize the effort.
"I see this as a tree from which will spring a variety of standards," said DeBlasio. "We want to look at everything from power generation to home appliances and the useful two-way communications between them," he added.
"The goal is to bring together this diverse community, look at the requirements smart grids and begin to pursue interoperability," said Chuck Adams, president of the IEEE Standards Association.
The meeting will come two weeks after the National Institute of Standards and Technology convenes a major summit on smart grids in Washington D.C. The NIST meeting is the first step toward drafting a road map and recommending standards for smart grids.
The U.S. federal government has mandated NIST to spearhead an effort to set smart grid standards. The agency got $10 million under President Obama's stimulus package to carry out that work.
DeBlasio and Adams met with NIST's smart grid coordinator in Washington D.C. recently and aim to attend NIST's May summit. The IEEE will collaborate with the NIST effort, they said.
"I see us as the implementers of the NIST roadmap," said DeBlasio who also acts as the IEEE liaison to NIST. "We are sort of symbiotic because their intent is to recommend and facilitate standards developed by organizations such as IEEE."
"Everything we do is open to NIST," said Adams. "We want to put ourselves in a collaborative arrangement because this is a long term issue," he added.
The IEEE 2030 meeting will start and conclude with day-long generation sessions. It will break into separate power engineering, IT and communications subgroups for its middle day.
The group will leverage existing work in the IEEE's Power and Energy Society (PES).
PES is poised to launch a new IEEE Transaction on smart grid, and the PES Transmission and Distribution Intelligent Grid Subcommittee is ramping up to build a repository of summaries of standards and best practices that are critical to grid modernization, said Pat Ryan, executive director of PES, speaking in a press statement.
"Intel is honored to host the first meeting of the IEEE P2030 Committee, because the time to take action on smart grids is now," said Lorie Wigle, general manager of Intel's eco-technology program office, speaking in the press statement.
Separately, the Department of Energy is working to allocate an estimated $4.5 billion of economic stimulus funds to deploy smart grid demonstration systems.
"We'll learn an awful lot from those projects," said DeBlasio. "This is the first big investment in smart grid, but it will take 20 years to deploy the technology and along the way we will create a body of standards for it," he added.