Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grid-Interop 2010

Today is the third (or for some folks the fourth) day of Grid-Interop 2010 here in Chicago. My second Grid-Interop, though I gather it's the fourth. Last year's event featured the kickoff of NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, which brought a number of new folks and organizations into the Smart Grid development effort.

The numbers keep growing: it was announced Tuesday that we now have 1750 members and 634 organizations involved, 10% from outside the U.S. It seems we have a quite significant number of members from Japan, with the possibility that in some specific areas Japan may be a little further along than the SGIP, but to at least one member from Japan I had to explain the ANSI consensus-building standards process, which includes representation by various areas of the industry -- it is easier to move faster without such a process. One hopes those a little further down the road can share their experiences that we might learn from them.

A question remains about progress, one year out from the start of the SGIP. I missed the detailed review Tuesday due to an offsite BACnet meeting, but I gather some of the "Priority Action Plan" groups (PAPs, fast-moving narrowly focused ad-hoc groups) have delivered or about to deliver their work items, which then are passed on to standards groups to handle through the standards process. Others are having a more difficult time.

Perhaps some of the difficulty lies in the ways of measuring progress. From my perspective of one small corner of the Grid, the commercial-building consumer of electricity, there has been significant progress made at least in the area of how such buildings will interoperate with the utilities ("the other side of the electric meter"). Though it seems what while I've been absent from my e-mail a new building-grid interface has been defined (to parallel the "Energy Services Interface" developed over the past year), along with a new acronym. I hope to catch up today.

But in other areas, from others' perceptions, there has been less progress. Since "Smart Grid" is not officially described in any way, many are co-opting it for different visions and products -- not all of which are necessarily different from the overall perspective the SGIP is developing, but which could be important components of it. Most of my active participation occurs today and tomorrow -- it will be interesting.

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