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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

IA Round-up of IEEE Smart Grid Expert Opinions on What Will be the Most Important Development to the Grid in 2013

Many prognostications are made about the development of the electric infrastructure in years to come, five, ten, twenty years out. IEEE Smart Grid thought it would be useful to hear what some of its Smart Grid experts think will be the most important development to the grid this year, a much more difficult query without the luxury of a distant time frame to shade the possibilities.

In this roundup: Massoud Amin, Sam Sciacca, Erich Gunther, Steven Collier, and John McDonald weigh in.

Interview with Thomas S. Basso

Thomas S. Basso, IEEE Smart Grid technical expert and senior member of IEEE, is  a Senior Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the Electricity, Resources and Building Systems Integration, Distributed Energy Systems Integration Group.

In this interview, Thomas Basso sorts out the subtle but important differences between renewable energy resources and distributed generation. He also gives his perspective on the trend toward renewable energy generation, the challenges and value it has for utilities, and the related topics of microgrids and islanding – all terms that need some explaining.

Question: We hear a lot about distributed generation in the media these days. It appears to be a topic that means different things to different people. But before we get into that, could you tell us why, in your opinion, the idea of distributed generation has become so popular?

Interview with Jim Wendorf

Jim Wendorf is the Director of Industry Connections for the IEEE Standards Association.

In his role as Director of Industry Connections for the IEEE Standards Association and as an IEEE Smart Grid Technical Expert, James Wendorf is helping organizations from throughout the Smart Grid ecosystem work together to incubate new technologies and standards for Smart Grid. A recognized leader in cross-industry and cross-discipline collaboration and consensus building, Wendorf previously served on IEEE-SA’s Corporate Advisory Group as a representative of private industry. A computer scientist, Wendorf has directed corporate strategies and standards development in computing and consumer electronics.

In this interview, James Wendorf describes Smart Grid activities, now under way at Industry Connections, to build a smart energy data repository; advance high-voltage solid-state transformer technologies; and develop wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles. He also discusses the importance of collaboration in the emerging Smart Grid industry and the roles computing and consumer devices will play in this new business environment.

Question: Tell us about IEEE Industry Connections and its role in Smart Grid.

Interview with Avnaesh Jayantilal

Dr. Avnaesh Jayantilal, IEEE Smart Grid technical expert and Senior Member of IEEE, is the Global Activity Manager for the Integrated Distribution Management Systems (IDMS) product line at Alstom Grid.

Dr. Avnaesh Jayantilal, IEEE Smart Grid technical expert and Senior Member of IEEE, is the Global Activity Manager for the Integrated Distribution Management Systems (IDMS) product line at Alstom Grid.

In this interview, Dr. Avnaesh Jayantilal finds some bumps in the road in his update on Smart Grid deployment two years after the U.S. Department of Energy grants. But while some missteps have been made, electric utilities in general are making good progress.

Question: A year ago, Smart Grid deployment seemed to be on a fast track. In the U.S., billions of dollars in Department of Energy seed money were coming online. Europe and other parts of the world seemed, if anything, to be a little ahead of the game. Has anything changed?

Interview with James McClanahan

James McClanahan has spent more than two decades in the electric utility and telecommunications industries, working in a variety of management and consulting roles for leading companies in both sectors.

With a 20-year career advancing emerging technologies for the power and telecommunications industries, IEEE Smart Grid Technical Expert James McClanahan is uniquely positioned to discuss the evolution to Smart Grid. McClanahan is a member of the IEEE Power & Energy society and he has served as an IEEE officer at the local chapter level. In industry, he has helped pioneer advanced metering infrastructure and many telecommunications technologies that will be used in Smart Grid. He is director of product support and field services in the power system services division at S&C Electric Company.





In this interview, James McClanahan emphasizes the need for each utility to have a clear and cohesive Smart Grid vision and a champion for that vision within the company. He also discusses the impact of Smart Grid on the utility workforce and the need for utilities to rethink their customer relationships.

Question: What is the most important message that needs to be communicated to the industry about Smart Grid?

Interview with Srikanth Chandrasekaran

Srikanth Chandrasekaran (Sri Chandra) is IEEE Standard Association's Senior Regional Program Manager for India. In this role, he drives all standards-related initiatives and programs in India. Recently, Sri has been promoting standards development activities through focus groups on technical topics such as smart grid, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

In this interview, Sri Chandra discusses the present state of the electric power grid in India, the country's Smart Grid initiatives and why the role of developing nations has critical importance in creating standards that are truly global in nature.

Question: What is the state of the power engineering profession in India?

Interview with Nicholas Abi-Samra

Nicholas (Nick) Abi-Samra of Quanta Technology recently served as both General Chair and overall Technical Program Coordinator for the successful 2012 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting. He has more than 35 years of experience in power systems, planning, operations and maintenance.

In this interview, Nick Abi-Samra ties together three areas of power technology that will have lasting impact on the Smart Grid: Electric vehicles, utility readiness and the importance of communications technologies.

Question: Electric vehicles (EVs) and their impact on the grid seem to be something of a wild card. Has EV technology reached a point at which utilities can actually plan for the new load?

Interview with Doug Houseman

Doug Houseman's 30-year career in the power industry includes a lead role in the IEEE Power and Energy Society's Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee, helping develop the National Institute of Science and Technology's smart grid framework model and being closely involved in many U.S. and international power-related initiatives. Today, he serves as vice president for technology and innovations at EnerNex, LLC.

In this interview, Doug Houseman discusses current market conditions, challenges of grid modernization and the need to re-examine outdated power industry tenets. Houseman looks forward to results from the IEEE PES Grid Vision project and the good news about what he calls "the most reliable system in the world today."

Question: The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) stimulus-funded smart grid projects are coming to fruition, many related to interval meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Distribution automation is oft-cited as the next trend. What are you seeing in the market today?

Interview with Georges Simard

Georges Simard chairs the IEEE Power and Energy Society's Smart Distribution Working Group, participates in the Power and Energy Society's Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee and has been elected an IEEE senior member. After a successful career at Hydro-Quebec Distribution, he currently leads his own firm, SIMARD Smart Grid.

In this interview, Georges Simard discusses the challenges of extending intelligence into the distribution system. He also discusses the design practices, operating techniques and technologies that will produce the smart distribution system of the future.

Question: What is the IEEE Power and Energy Society's Smart Distribution Working Group (SDWG) working on?

Interview with Dick DeBlasio

Dick DeBlasio chairs the IEEE 2030 Working Group that brought together communications, information technology and power engineers in collaboration to develop the world's first system-of-systems, foundational standard created from the ground up to inform Smart Grid interconnection and interoperability. In addition to his work with IEEE 2030, Dick DeBlasio is a member of the IEEE Standards Association Board of Governors, chief engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and IEEE Smart Grid liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

IEEE 2030® "IEEE Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS), End-Use Applications, and Loads" was approved and published in September 2011. In this interview, we talk to Dick DeBlasio, chair of the IEEE 2030 Working Group.

Question: Who is using IEEE 2030, and how?