The promise of the Smart Grid is defined differently in different parts of the world, but the lessons learned in realizing that promise in the various markets are being globally shared—through standards development.


Utilities, manufacturers, governments and other stakeholders have a global landscape of test beds from which to draw valuable knowledge in working to bring the Smart Grid’s benefits to their customers and/or constituents. A market’s contribution to the global conversation depends largely on its particular local drivers.


In China, where one of the challenges is moving power from the Yangtze River’s buildup of generation facilities to remote areas of the vast country, ultra-high-voltage transmission is a prime area of technological focus in Smart Grid development. In the United States, emphasis has been placed on distributed generation and interconnection standards; the publicly available IEEE 1547 “Physical and electrical interconnections between utility and distributed generation (DG)” standards sponsored jointly by IEEE and IEC are being considered by the international community.


A number of nations, meanwhile, are making important advances in specific renewable energy sources. Northern African nations, for example, see a terrific export business opportunity in leveraging the local desert terrain for generating solar and wind power, so there is information to be gleaned from these markets on transporting energy and linking with international grids. Korea, which hopes to reduce its requirement for fossil fuels, is engaged in nuclear technologies. Critical work in photovoltaics and energy storage, meanwhile, is taking place in Japan.


It’s a world of diverse data points, and it is through standards-development organizations (SDOs) that this input is effectively correlated and shared.


With its “Draft Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation With the Electric Power System (EPS), and End-Use Applications and Loads” amid IEEE sponsor balloting and headed for ratification as a standard this year, the IEEE P2030 Work Group continues to serve as an international integration point for global governments, manufacturers and utilities who are seeking guidance on Smart Grid interconnection.


Manufacturers and utilities on multiple continents, meanwhile, have joined the efforts to produce application-specific extensions to the IEEE P2030 base standard. The IEEE P2030.3 Working Group, for example, is working to establish a standard for the test procedures for verifying conformance of storage equipment and systems to the interconnection standards within that specific technology area. A senior engineer from the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI) of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) chairs the working group, in fact.


And IEEE 1547—one of the standards that the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has identified as useful for advancing Smart Grid rollout—is being enhanced based on input from Germany. The parameters of permissable voltage and frequency are not as narrow for products in Germany as they historically have been in the United States, so there are valuable technological insights to be drawn from the data generated there.


Across disparate engineering disciplines and markets, real-world Smart Grid lessons learned are being shared through standards development. In turn, SDOs of due process, openness, balance and transparency are emerging as critical mechanisms for global Smart Grid technology transfer.


 Photo by mzacha.