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SGIP 2.0 and the near future

At this key juncture in its brief history, SGIP 2.0, Inc., has become fully operational as a private entity focused on critical power industry issues most relevant to our stakeholders, which include utilities, regulators, equipment vendors and integrators.

The challenges we’re addressing are familiar to everyone involved in grid modernization: cyber security, the integration of renewable energy resources, gaps in standards, harmonization of global standards, consumer engagement and transactive energy—to name just a few.

SGIP 2.0, Inc. doesn’t need a crystal ball, however, to see 2014 with a degree of clarity. We’ve developed a strategy and structure to make tangible progress on power industry challenges—progress that will plant the seeds of value creation.

As a result, the power industry should see significant progress in hardware and software interoperability, management of cyber security risk, utility-customer communications and mutually beneficial programs, global harmonization of standards and supply chain issues. We also expect to advance current discussions on issues such as electrical vs. thermal storage, transactive retail energy applications and other topics.

A bit of background will bring us to SGIP 2.0’s current agenda and my predictions for how it will support the power industry’s efforts to modernize the grid.

The recent past  
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST—a branch of the Commerce Department) to form the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) in 2009 as a public-private partnership. SGIP’s charge: coordinate standards work to ensure interoperability and security as the grid is modernized.

Once SGIP developed a strategy and a structure, it transitioned in 2012 to SGIP 2.0, Inc., a member-funded organization that carried forth its predecessor’s original mission. The transition essentially put the power industry in charge of its own destiny.

I like the way our Executive Director Patrick Gannon, hired in 2013, described our work at our inaugural member meeting in November 2013: SGIP 2.0, Inc., Gannon said, “provides a framework for orchestrating the work behind grid modernization.”

Going forward
Internally, we’ve organized our members into committees and working groups to address industry challenges. In general, our stakeholders want guidance on implementing cyber security, clear technology use cases, tools and applications for customer interactions and the latest insights on substation automation, distribution system management, energy storage and updates on progress in the priority action plans (PAPs) that address gaps in standards.

Thus the work products we’ve slated for 2014 will take many forms, including conceptual models, interoperability roadmaps, smart grid requirements, use cases, white papers and a catalog of (relevant) standards.

My predictions
If you’ve ever watched a conductor lead an orchestra with a baton, you’ve noticed the conductor creates no sounds, but you see and hear the result of his direction as various sections of the orchestra come to life. That’s a good analogy for how SGIP 2.0, Inc., work supports grid modernization.

A word on strategy: our strategic values are embodied in four catchphrases: accelerate, facilitate, navigate, communicate. SGIP 2.0, Inc., is determined to accelerate the realization of interoperability benefits for grid modernization and, in the process, bring down costs through economies of scale. We are here to facilitate both the educational process for stakeholders and the core, technical work that stakeholders must work together on. We seek to navigate stakeholder-specific roadmaps to illuminate our collective path forward. We shall communicate the merits and impacts of interoperability for practical use by stakeholders.

My predictions are simple: as SGIP 2.0, Inc., and allied efforts make headway on these challenges, the industry’s conceptual discussions will become tangible reality. What we collectively accomplish in 2014 will indeed hasten the era in which grid modernization is realized.  

The following bullets capture specific deliverables on SGIP 2.0, Inc.’s 2014 agenda, with a word on the broader impacts we anticipate.

  • Development of a case study and training class in cyber security risk management will provide a pragmatic approach to a complex, often confusing subject for all stakeholders.
  • Publication of a white paper on smart grid cloud computing that will clarify the risks, costs and benefits for utilities.
  • Collaboration with NIST and other federal agencies on a Smart Grid Supply Chain Awareness Guide to highlight risks for utility executives and inform them on cyber security procurement concepts.
  • Development of interoperability experience case studies that address smart grid functionality, particularly around distributed renewable energy resources, volt/VAR management, dynamic pricing and electric vehicle charging.
  • Contribute to the creation of a smart grid interactive Interoperability Mapping Tool, which can aid in the development and execution of utility-specific technology road maps.
  • Build a directory of all industry test programs relating to smart grid standards, to ensure a common platform for utilities and equipment vendors to evaluate technology offerings.
  • Develop an application or best practices guide to test smart grid systems and devices for interference from electromagnetic sources.
  • Improve communications between utilities and residential devices to facilitate demand response programs; adapt home appliances for energy management programs and transactive energy markets; improve data aggregation and privacy; and implement Internet Protocol (IP) for home devices focused on energy management.
  • Issue white papers on electrical vs. thermal storage and transactive retail energy applications.
  • Identify use cases that illustrate the benefits of bi-directional weather data exchanges between utilities; survey current weather-related standards efforts; and harmonize the exchange of weather data among utilities adhering to independent standards.
  • Align global interoperability approaches to facilitate common approaches worldwide.
  • Identify and capitalize on opportunities to work with regulators on educational seminars.

SGIP 2.0, Inc., grew in 2012 from 88 members to more than 200, as various stakeholders grasped the power industry’s fundamental challenges and seized an opportunity to shape the future. We’re confident that our to-do list for 2014 will provide a more solid foundation for grid modernization by informing and empowering stakeholders with the tools and knowledge they need to fulfill the promise of a smarter grid. Accomplishing that will, in turn, provide the basis for economic vitality around the world.

We’ve put a pragmatic, step-by-step process in place, governed by fundamental strategies. The results will soon be tangible. No crystal ball needed here.

John D. McDonald is board chairman, SGIP 2.0, Inc.

Kaitlyn Parsons's picture

Thank Kaitlyn for the Post!

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