"Standards" is the buzz word around the smart grid right now. And no wonder. About 3,500 utilities need to be put on the same track. Mainstream knowledge and desire for energy security, environmental concerns, and money-saving concerns has added to the push behind smart grid innovators, who have been pushing for standards for years. Finally, the industry is paying attention. A panel of leaders at Green:Net gave us some nuggets about smart grid standardization.
The panel consisted of Rich Lechner, VP of Energy and Environment with IBM; Scott Lang, President and CEO of Silver Spring Networks, Andrew Tang, Senior Director of Smart Energy Web with Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Warren Weiss, General Partner, Foundation Capital.
According to Scott Lang, interoperability of the demand side technology is critical. Companies have to make sure all the devices work, work with one another, and work with the larger systems. Infrastructure of the smart grid needs to be able to grow and advance without having to make major upgrades constantly. Therefore, the industry needs a network platform for utilities that can ride the curve of upgrading technology.
Andrew Tang agreed and added that "smart grid" is becoming an overly broad term. It needs to be broken up into the customer side - from meter into home - and the grid side - things that interact with distribution, transmission centers, and so on. He noted that standards on customer side are coming pretty far along already - pointing out the use of the Zigbee platform - and he's confident a working standard will be in place by end of year. However, the supply side still has a lot of work ahead of it.
Another question posed to the panel is what other utilities besides electricity may be implemented into the smart grid. Here is their response:
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