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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

United States


The United States’ Smart Grid policy is primarily directed by the central federal government through the guidance and authority of various acts of congress which are implemented by the Federal Smart Grid Task Force led by the Department of Energy (DoE) and staffed by:

  • The Department of Energy
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • The Department of Commerce
  • The Environmental Protection Agency
  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Department of Agriculture
  • The Department of Defense
  • The Federal Communications Commission
  • The Department of State

Governmental/Industry Energy Organizations

In its key role as the implementer of national Smart Grid policy the DoE has created a partnership industry and quasi governmental professional electrical power organizations in an attempt to integrate a comprehensive set of subject matter experts in developing a roadmap and vision for the Smart Grid. This group includes the GridWise Alliance, The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), The Galvin Electricity Initiative, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as a host of others

Although the federal government is responsible for the nation’s Smart Grid policy via its national energy policy some aspects of that policy fall outside of the federal government’s jurisdictional boundaries and are the responsibility of a vast and complex web of state, regional, local and municipal governing authorities. Together these groups are pooling their resources to collaboratively develop the Smart Grid.

Key Legislation

The Energy Independence Act of 2007 (EISA)
The first of the Federal government laws concerning the Smart grid was enacted by Congress in 2007 and is entitled The Energy Independence Act of 2007, or (EISA). EISA’s primary focus from a Smart Grid perspective is found in Title 13 of the law which is directed towards the goal of modernizing the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution system. To this goal 10 topic areas are addressed in the law, they include:

  1. Increased use of digital information and controls technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid.
  2. The dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources, with full cyber-security.
  3. The Deployment and integration of distributed resources and generation, including renewable resources.
  4. Development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources, and energy-efficiency resources.
  5. Deployment of ‘‘smart’’ technologies (real-time, automated, interactive technologies that optimize the physical operation of appliances and consumer devices) for metering, communications concerning grid operations and status, and distribution automation.
  6. Integration of ‘‘smart’’ appliances and consumer devices.
  7. Deployment and integration of advanced electricity storage and peak-shaving technologies, including plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and thermal-storage air conditioning.
  8. Provision to consumers of timely information and control options.
  9. Development of standards for communication and interoperability of appliances and equipment connected to the electric grid, including the infrastructure serving the grid.
  10. The Identification and lowering of unreasonable or unnecessary barriers to adoption of smart grid technologies, practices and services.

In 2008, in support of EISA, the DoE through its Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) produced a visionary report entitled Smart Grid: an introduction. This report outlines a national vision of the Smart Grid and the positioning of the Smart Grid’s primary stakeholder groups. One of the key phrases from the report describes the Smart Grid in a futuristic perspective when it states “Think of the Smart Grid as the internet brought to our electric system” . The report goes onto to outlines 6 Key objectives for Smart Grid development as:

  1. Ensuring the Electrical Grid’s reliability to degrees never before possible.
  2. Maintaining the Electrical Grid’s affordability.
  3. Reinforcing the United State’s global competitiveness.
  4. Fully accommodating renewable and traditional energy sources.
  5. Potentially reducing the United State’s carbon footprint and Green House Gases (GHG).
  6. Introducing advancements and efficiencies to the Electrical Grid yet to be envisioned.

Finally the OE Smart Grid report identifies 6 strategic opportunities from which the United States wishes to use the Smart Grid to realize:

  1. Enablement of nationwide use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  2. Deployment of large-scale energy storage
  3. Seamless integration of renewable energy sources
  4. Flexible consumer choice regarding electrical energy source and consumption
  5. Exploit the use of green building standards to help lessen electrical load requirements
  6. Making use of solar energy 24 hours a day

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
The next important piece of legislation containing funding and policy direction concerning the Smart Grid was passed by congress and enacted into law in 2009. Known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) the law extended Smart Grid efforts by funding activities such as:

  1. Smart Grid Investment Grantswhich serves as catalyst and seed programs to enable commercial developments in Smart Grid technologies in the fields of:
    • Retail and Wholesale electrical markets
    • Central and Distributed electric generation and storage options
    • New products, services, and markets
    • Power quality diversification to consumers
    • Asset utilization and operating efficiency of the electric power system
    • System disturbance prediction and analysis
    • Resiliency preparedness to attack and natural disasters
  2. The Smart Grid Demonstration Program funding initiative of ARRA was designed to enable the validation and verification of Smart Grid technologies in respect to cost versus benefits, the ability to be replicated, the ability to be piloted and implemented, and the ability to produce new business models. Demonstration program funding is focused on Smart Grid technologies which:
    • Enable customers, electricity distributors, and electricity generators to change their behavior in order to reduce electric power system demands and costs
    • Increase energy efficiency
    • Match electricity demand and resources
    • Increase grid reliability.

    The demonstration program is particularly interested in funding those projects that are focused on energy storage on a macro or grid-scale; especially those that can:

    • Enable renewable energy resources to be controlled by grid operators in more manageable ways.
    • Balance microgrids to achieve a good match between generation and load.
    • Provide frequency regulation to maintain the balance between the network's load and power generation.
    • Enable deferment of transmission and distribution investments.
    • Provide a more reliable power supply for high-tech industrial facilities.
  3. The Smart Grid Workforce Training and Development program is another important part of the ARRA Act funding of the Smart Grid as it helps provide for the training and education of a new generation of electrical power professionals directly associated with Smart Grid technologies. Through universities, community colleges, manufacturers and utilities this program shall provide funding to train 30,000 people by: developing and enhancing workforce training programs for the electrical power sector and by helping the development of a series of Smart Grid workforce training programs.
  4. The Smart Grid Maturity Model- As part of the ARRA funding of the Smart Grid the federal government is funding the building of a management model to help utilities track progress towards Smart Grid technologies implementation through the analysis of 8 main criteria:
    • Strategy, management, and regulatory
    • Organization and structure
    • Grid operations
    • Work and asset management
    • Technology
    • Customer
    • Value chain integration
    • Societal and environmental

Other Notable laws or Actions

American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 H.R.2454

  • Section 121 - Requires utilities to develop plans to support electric vehicle infrastructure and establish protocols for integration with smart grid systems.
  • Sections 142 and 143 - Provides for assessment and inclusion of Smart Grid capability in Energy Star and Energy Guide Ratings
  • Section 144 - Requires the FERC to coordinate a national program to reduce peak electric demand for load-serving electric utilities with peak loads in excess of 250 megawatts
  • Section 145 - Reauthorize the joint DOE/EPA efficiency public information initiative and expands the initiative to include information on smart grid technologies, practices, and benefits.
  • Section 146 - Inclusion of Smart Grid Features in Appliance Rebate Program

Current Major Projects

Listed below are sites which contain listing of major projects underway within discreet category headings

Advanced Metering Infrastructure- Various projects nation wide
Customer Systems- Various projects nation wide
Electric Distributions Systems- Various projects nation wide
Electric Transmission Systems- Various projects nation wide
Equipment Manufacturing- Various projects nation wide
Integrated and Crosscutting Systems- Various projects nation wide
Energy Storage Demonstration Projects- Various projects nation wide
Regional Demonstration Projects- Various projects nation wide

Perfect Power- Microgrid Technologies
Perfect Power is a research project being conducted at Illinois Institute of Technology (ITT) in conjunction with the Galvin Electricity Initiative and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a comprehensive solution to the loss in time and money lost to power outages. In collaboration with S&C Electric, Endurant Energy, and ComEd, the Perfect Power System project will incorporate smart microgrid technologies into a loop system to produce redundant electricity in an effort to eliminate costly outages, minimize power disturbances, moderate an ever-growing demand, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Perfect Power System will include the following elements:

  • Self-sustaining electricity infrastructure
  • An intelligent distribution system and system controllers
  • Onsite electricity production
  • Demand-response capability
  • Sustainable energy systems and green buildings/complexes
  • Technology-ready infrastructure

Distribution Management System (DMS) - Management of Distributed Generation (DG), Energy Storage and Demand Response technologies

Project’s objective is to develop and demonstrate a Distribution Management System (DMS) that aggregates distributed generation (DG), energy storage, and demand response technologies in a distribution system to achieve both distribution and transmission level benefits. Ideally, the application of these technologies would increase system reliability and improve power quality along with reducing costs to both the utility and its customers.

An integrated distribution system control and communications architecture that combines and coordinates the following:

  • Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) as a home portal for direct demand response signals, as well as structured electricity rates
  • Building automation to implement energy conservation and demand response
  • Meter information gathering, mining, and reporting functions in the distribution system control platform
  • Energy management, implementing optimal dispatch of DG, storage, and loads on the feeder
  • Tieline dispatch controls, allowing tight dynamic control of the power exchange between the distribution system and the transmission grid
  • Integrated voltage/VAR control to minimize losses and control the voltage profile