Monday, October 24, 2011
New smart grid standards emerge
Smart grid technology represents a revolutionary integration of power distribution and networking solutions. The sophisticated nature of this integration makes smart grid somewhat challenging to deploy. However, the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel recently made major strides in simplifying smart grid deployment by adding new standards into its technical guide for organizations working to implement the technology, according to a recent Engineer Live report.
The SGIP does not write or directly develop these standards. Instead, the regulatory body approves them and publishes them to benefit the industry as a whole. The news source said 90 percent of the SGIP membership voted to ratify the six new smart grid standards, which were already approved by the SGIP governing board.
According to the report, the standards were developed by the National Institue of Standards and Technology, and originally sent to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which chose not to support them. The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the FERC came because the standards did not address security concerns associated with the technology. As a result, the FERC asked the NIST to develop the standards further. The SGIP chose to accept the standards because they address key national priorities pertaining to smart grid installation.
The six standards ratified by the SGIP include provisions for internet protocol systems within smart grid deployments, advice for dealing with energy usage information, regulations to help address electric vehicles that plug into the smart grid for charging and protocols for handling wireless communication in smart grid networks.
The SGIP told the news source that robust and sophisticated standards are critical for making smart grid possible, as much of the U.S. power grid is still similar to how it was established in the 19th century. Transitioning from such dated technology to support current communications infrastructure is a major challenge.
The growing popularity of smart grid technology is creating major opportunities in the home area network market. According to a recent Technavio study, many service providers are encouraging HAN deployment to improve energy management capabilities within the home in conjunction with the installation of new smart meters. The growing popularity of smart grid technology is creating significant opportunities in the HAN sector. However, a general lack of standards in this area could limit HAN deployment in the short-term, until more guidance is released in the sector.
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