The IEEE Smart Grid Initiative: What’s Ahead in 2014?

By Massoud Amin

The New Year brings many exciting opportunities and changes for the IEEE Smart Grid Community. Former Chair Ms. Wanda Reder, under whose leadership the IEEE Smart Grid Initiative has thrived for four years, stepped down in December. Since 2009, Ms. Reder’s leadership helped grow a small group of smart grid experts into a full-fledged IEEE community with over 5,340 members. Her open and collaborative approach has enabled wholesome participation across IEEE. Please join me in thanking her for pioneering the IEEE initiative through her vision and leadership.

Beginning this year in January, the IEEE Smart Grid Initiative transitioned ownership to the IEEE Power & Energy Society (IEEE PES), one of IEEE’s largest technical communities. IEEE PES is the world’s largest forum for sharing the latest in technological developments in the electric power industry, and will support and strengthen the initiative’s goal to make smart grid a reality worldwide.

Last year, the IEEE Smart Gird Newsletter reported on some of the latest breakthroughs in smart grid technology. These included the U.S. Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which awarded the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy $16.8 billion for programs and initiatives related to advancing smart grid. Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy and the electricity industry jointly invested in 99 Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) projects, which involve 228 participating utilities and other organizations. We look forward to bringing you more results from these important projects and many more throughout the world in 2014.

Over the next five years, smart microgrids will play a growing role in meeting local demand, enhancing reliability and ensuring local control of electricity. With this in mind, the newsletter will focus on emerging developments and challenges the smart grid community must address:

  • Increased focus on cyber-physical security;
  • Increased convergence and integration of enhanced power systems and power electronics, with ICT infrastructure and analytics;
  • The growing relationship between smart grid and renewable energy resources;
  • Issues surrounding renewable initiatives such as the Renewables Portfolio Standards in the US, including how to expand transmission systems and address operational challenges in response to increased regulations;
  • New business models for cost recovery;
  • Pricing services in relation to the value of reliability, power quality, conservation and innovation;
  • Creating positive engagement with end-to-end stakeholder communities;
  • Reducing uncertainty around ROI and creating efficient pathways to redesign, retrofit and upgrade the current electrical system to a smart, self-healing one driven by a well-designed market approach.

Since the smart grid is an international priority, with needs varying from country to country, our goal is to leverage our partnership with the entire IEEE community and beyond. We welcome collaboration from colleagues around the world, from those involved in sensing, instrumentation and communications technologies; computer science; power and energy; controls and automation; and markets and policy; to those involved in broader environmental, transportation and quality of life issues. Please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Portal to learn more about how you can get involved.

Together we continue to grow the collaborative nature of the IEEE Smart Grid Initiative. I am honored to resume Ms. Wanda Reder’s efforts as the incoming chair and will strive to replicate her dedication and leadership throughout the global IEEE Smart Grid Community.

Many thanks for your continued interest and support.

Massoud Amin, D.Sc.
Chairman, IEEE Smart Grid




Massoud Amin, a senior member of IEEE, chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid, a fellow of ASME, Chairman of the Texas RE, an independent Director of the MRO, holds the Honeywell/H.W. Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership at the University of Minnesota. He directs the university’s Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and professor of electrical and computer engineering. He received a B.S. degree with honors and the M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the M.S. degree and the D.Sc. degree in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Before joining the University of Minnesota in 2003, he held positions of increasing responsibility at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto. After 9/11, he directed EPRI's Infrastructure Security R&D and served as area manager for Infrastructure Security & Protection, Grid Operations/Planning, and Energy Markets. Prior to that, he served as manager of mathematics and information sciences, leading the development of more than 24 technologies that transferred to industry, and pioneered R&D in "self-healing" infrastructures and smart grids.