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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) 2011 Conference Summary

The second IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) Conference, sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), was held in Anaheim, California January 17-19, 2011.

Building on the success of the first ISGT Conference launched in January 2010 and the first ISGT Europe Conference held in Sweden last October, this year’s program was filled with insightful presentations on smart grid applications and best practices given by some of the world’s leading experts in this field.

This year’s IEEE ISGT, which is a global forum for delegates to discuss the latest innovations in Smart Grid technologies, attracted more than 300 participants from five countries, 55% of which were from industry, 34% were from the academia and 11% from government.

The three-day conference featured special sessions and tutorials by respected international smart grid practitioners and researchers on all aspects of Smart Grid including vision and strategy, policy and regulation, security, workforce attrition, and consumer engagement. Sessions included:

•    The impact of Smart Grid on Distributed Energy Resources (electric vehicles, demand response, distributed generation, storage)

•    Smart Sensors and Advanced Metering Infrastructure

•    Cyber Security Systems (intelligent monitoring and outage management)

•    Wide Area Protection, Communication, and Control in Energy Systems

•    Power and Energy System Applications (generation, transmission, distribution, markets, operations, planning)

•    Energy Management Systems (with applications to building and home automation)

•    Smart Grid Standards

In conjunction with the ISGT conference, IEEE presented tutorials, including an introduction to smart grid and a session on microgrids.

Conference Highlights

One ISGT Conference Keynote Address was given by Laura Ipsen, Vice President and General Manager for Smart Grid, Cisco Systems who focused on many of the concerns facing the Smart Grid enterprise, including resource optimization, change management, technical solutions: architecture and design. Ms. Ipsen discussed the very real issue of workforce attrition, noting that 50% of the utility workforce is expected to turn over by 2020. She also reinforced the need to create a compelling value proposition for consumers, the importance of learning from “network transformation” from the past, how critical it is to think of security issues in the early planning stages, why scalability is crucial, and the need for policy alignment.

One plenary session focused on the Role of Government and Regulation in Grid Modernization. Dian M. Grueneich, Former Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and a diverse group of panelists representing state and federal government, regulators, and consumers discussed the need to translate the technical details and business benefits of Smart Grid to ensure regulators and consumers understand the issues and value proposition. They touched on the importance of balancing the interests of ratepayers and the fiduciary responsibilities utilities have to their shareholders, explored if new expenditures would lead to just and reasonable rates, and debated the impact of climate change – specifically if there would be greater reliance on renewable, distributed generation to support a more efficient, smarter grid.

Panelists who joined Dian Grueneich to debate the wide range of Smart Grid regulatory topics included:
•    Paul Centolella, Ohio Public Utilities Commission
•    Tab Gangopadhyay, Canada National Energy Board
•    Chris Hickman, US Department of Energy Regulatory Assistance Program
•    Ann McGibbon, Consumer Advocate
•    Joe Kleha, Regulatory Affairs

In another plenary session moderator Don Von Dollen, Program Manager for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and fellow panelists explored what is required to make Smart Grid deployments successful, including the need to think globally, integrating technologies, efficiently managing technology change, understanding the business case, supporting dynamic optimization, and collaboration.

Panelists who joined Don Von Dollen included:
•    Gary Rackliffe, ABB
•    William Lawrence, Lockheed Martin
•    Doug Houseman, EnerNex
•    Jeff Gooding, Southern California Edison (SCE)
•    Matthew Green, PPL

Paul De Martini, Strategy CTO for Smart Grid, Cisco Systems and other Smart Grid experts including John McDonald of GE, Steve Pullins of DOE, and Bob Saint of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) debated the future of the grid, specifically “Implementation: The Next Ten Years.” The panel, moderated by Mark McGranaghan, Director of Smart Grid and Distribution Research at EPRI discussed lessons learned, the need to define best practices, and where we go with Smart Grid – looking across multiple dimensions – Social, Cyber and Physical Networks, and Transmission and Distribution. In the next three years we’ll see an extension of U.S. government Smart Grid grants with the roll out of 130 parallel projects. The panelists identified interoperability, cyber security and workforce turnover as critical issues key to the future of Smart Grid.

The full conference program with details of all the sessions and speaker bios is available online at:

Additional sponsors of the 2011 IEEE ISGT conference include IEEE Communications Society, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS), IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES), IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS), IEEE Signal Processing Society and IEEE USA.