Until work intensified around the Smart Grid over the last three years, engineers in power systems, communications and information technology (IT) did not have much reason to talk with one another. And, even if they had, they would not have been speaking the same languages.

The Smart Grid—the globally joined movement to augment electricity-delivery grids with two-way communications and control toward revolutionary benefits such as empowering greater consumer choice in energy usage and shifting to greater reliance on renewable sources of energy—demands unprecedented collaboration across disparate engineering disciplines. While various pilots, demonstration projects and other deployments worldwide have advanced the cause, much of the recent surge of work around the Smart Grid has been getting together different types of engineers to talk about what it’s going to take to get from here to there.

Even this has been no small job. These are fields where common terms such as “network” and “reliability” have historically been defined in different ways. There are critical differences in cultural, business and operational norms across the industries, as well. Communications and IT, for example, have typically been characterized by more
frequent rates of technological and standards change than has power, and all sorts of budget and business planning are based on these different expectations of shelf life. If the Smart Grid is to successfully bring together power, communications, IT and other technologies, there must be some degree of unification early on among the industries’
engineers and other decision makers.

In that ground was sowed the seeds of the IEEE 2030TM – IEEE Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS), End-Use Applications, and Loads. A cross-discipline working group formed in March 2009, and IEEE in September of this year ratified
and published the fruit of a formal, two-and-a-half-year process of structured writing, reviewing, revising, commenting and balloting. More than 400 people contributed to the standard’s development. The result: IEEE 2030 is the world’s first, from-the-ground- up standard to provide a system-of-systems roadmap for Smart Grid interconnection
and interoperability. Utilities, manufacturers and regulators can use the standard to understand the options for achieving interoperability, interface by interface, across the Smart Grid.

It’s critical, too, that future standards-development efforts build on the work that has gone into IEEE 2030 because funding for research is evaporating across industries. IEEE 2030 has revealed gaps where additional work is needed to fully realize the Smart Grid’s potential. In fact, three IEEE 2030 extensions are already underway:

•IEEE P2030.1TM – Guide for Electric-Sourced Transportation Infrastructure –seeks to address the need for a more robust, end-to-end accommodation for the intensifying global transition to electric-sourced vehicles.

• IEEE P2030.2TM – Guide for the Interoperability of Energy Storage Systems Integrated with the Electric Power Infrastructure – is intended as a knowledge base around energy-storage systems, one of the most fertile areas of innovation in the next-generation Smart Grid.

• IEEE P2030.3TM – Standard for Test Procedures for Electric Energy Storage Equipment and Systems for Electric Power Systems Applications – is designed to address test and conformance verification with regard to interconnecting storage
equipment to the grid, a new challenge for the industries that are building the Smart Grid.

Smart Grid standards development will continue for decades, but, in these first years of intensified rollout, one of the primary tasks has been getting cross-discipline engineers on the same page.

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