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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

Chuck Adams

Chuck Adams, 2009-2010 President of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). Interviewed during the IEEE Smart Grid World Forum in Brussels, Belgium, Chuck provides insight on standards and their relevance to Smart Grids.

As part of an ongoing video interview series with Smart Grid experts around the world, we present a conversation with Chuck Adams, 2009-2010 President of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). Interviewed during the IEEE Smart Grid World Forum in Brussels, Belgium, Chuck provides insight on standards and their relevance to Smart Grids.


Chuck Adams: Actually, standards is the integral component of taking technology and transitioning it to the marketplace and also planning for the environment of, really, 20 years out. The work that's going on in standards, actually, is in two phases. One looking at initial requirements, such things like smart meters and the intelligent appliances that are coming out in the near term, but long term the smart grid is not only two-way power, it's two-way communications and it's two-way service delivery and IT support. So the future of the smart grid 20 years from now is actually going to be the next Internet. In fact, the development of the smart grid will be a much more complex development effort than was the Internet development activities. Then we're in the process now of developing the architecture and the framework for which we can build standards around to support those needs looking 20 years out.


Chuck Adams: The activities, the global activities within the IEEE, relative to smart grid are one of an integrating activity. The way the smart grid is evolving, you find that each geographical area is assessing its priorities.

You have in the U.S., under NIST, an activity to develop a smart grid strategy for the U.S. Similarly, you have one in Europe that is looking to be completed later this year, earlier next year. If you go to Asia, you have one that's been developed and produced in Japan earlier this year. China has its strategy. Korea has recently developed its strategy.

However, all of these requirements need to be integrated together. If you go to Asia and you look at the work in China, they're focusing on regenerative energy and storage technologies to improve the reliability of their grids. If you go to China, smart grid to them means deploying reliable technology through the whole country. So they're focusing on high voltage transmission as a necessary technology. You go to Korea, this is an opportunity for Korea to further enhance and to develop the reliability in its nuclear power structure, which is an area that they emphasize.

However, they're all doing this and they're all focusing on doing this under an integrated, I'll call it a technology umbrella or architecture. They're all looking at the fact that in 20 to 30 years, not only are we expected to have an intelligent grid. All components on a grid will be intelligent components. The grid will be a service delivery network, such that you if you buy a Samsung refrigerator and plug it in Berlin, the folks in Korea will be aware of it. They'll be able to support it. They'll be able to service it. They'll be providing intelligence to consumers worldwide, and industry wants coherent and consistent technology for those services to these consumers.

These various geographical regions are recognizing that the capabilities of the IEEE Standards Association provide them the capabilities to rapidly initiate and develop projects and programs which will lead to meeting their requirements of the future. In addition, the IEEE is working very closely with other standards communities. Smart grid is not an activity or an effort that will be done by just one standards community. It will require standards communities working together.

The folks in the SAE will be looking at the requirements for electric cars, but the IEEE will be working with them on the interface requirements for electric vehicles. The IEEE is providing technologies, such as the black boxes and things like that, which will go into electric vehicles. We're working with other IT groups like the IETF, or we're working with communications groups like ETSI and the ITU to ensure that as industry comes together and develops these requirements that they're integrated much like the Internet.

If you go back and look at the Internet, you wouldn't have an Internet today if it weren't for groups like the IETF, the W3C, OASIS, IEEE, and ETSI. They all had to develop programs and projects that work together. The IEEE plans to be an integral partner of this effort going forward.


About Chuck Adams

Chuck Adams is the 2009-2010 President of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA). He chairs its Board of Governors and represents Standards on the IEEE Board of Directors.

During his Board of Governors tenure, Chuck was the first Chair of the IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group (CAG) and played a pivotal role in the launching of the IEEE’s corporate standards program.

Chuck, who began his IEEE standards engagement in January 2000, has received several IEEE awards for his development of global programs, expanding the breath and recognition of IEEE standards programs.

Chuck retired from IBM in March 2009 after 41 years of service. In the last 10 years he focused on standards management, with IBM corporate responsibility for worldwide standardization and intellectual property coordination, as well as global open source software policy management. His overall experience with IBM included communications, networking, office automation, and software development as well as business and strategic planning, strategic process transformation, finance, and marketing.

Chuck received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University, a Master’s degree in Management Science from Lehigh University, and a Doctorate in Business from George Washington University.

He has taught courses in electrical engineering and operations research, and is a life member of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honor society, and a 42-year member of the IEEE.