Bill Ash


Our next interview is with Bill Ash, Strategic Program Manager for the IEEE Standards Association. Bill discusses the impact of standards on the Smart Grid in the United States and worldwide.






Is IEEE-SA only involved in Standards Development with respect to Smart Grid or are they involved in other things?

SA is involved in what we call the full life cycle of the Standard which includes prestandardization incubation of technology looking at where early stages of technologies are starting to come on and some of the early discussions of just defining terms and definitions through the development as you mention, as our core competency and then moving on to post standards activities where we’re doing certification and testing programs, part of the IEEE confirmatory assessment program which supports a full gamut of market acceptance once the standards approve.

How important are standards to the Smart Grid, the evolution and, implementation of the Smart Grid?

So our take on it being that we're a standards association, we feel they're very important. We have a biased viewpoint, but if that wasn't the case, standards are still very important in order to grow the market globally in the Smart Grid and allow for interoperability of Smart Grid Technology. Standards are going to be a key component to allow that to happen and allow implementers, manufacturers and integrators alike to be able to define and implement the new technology and the existing technology as the Smart Grid evolves.

What innovations in Smart Grid technology do you see and how do standards play into that?

Well, we're seeing a lot of innovation. I mean, if you look at the things that are ongoing in Japan with their incident that recently happened, and the focus of getting off nuclear and less dependent on nuclear, the integration of reneweables, whether it's large scale wind farms or small PV generation equipment, it's micro grids. I mean, we're just seeing a lot of advancements of bringing back communication, the monitoring, the control and be able to sense data and information and be able to allow the Smart Grid to evolve in technology spaces. So we're seeing a lot of growth whether it's allowing existing technology for new application or new technology just being thought of to solve some of those issues.

Are the IEEE Smart Grid Standards developing globally?

Absolutely. We have over 160 countries that are participating in Standards Development arena. We have countries from Asia, India, from European Group, so the more participation that we have that allows the IEEE Standards to take the regional inputs that are there, allow the consensus building process to happen on a global basis which then lends it the ability to the market acceptance for global standards.

Does the IEEE Standards Association work with all those standards bodies outside the United States on Smart Grid?

Absolutely. The policy that Standards Association has is that there is no one SDO that can cover the full gamut of Smart Grid. And partnering is a key collaboration that we feel is necessary for the Smart Grid to evolve and we have agreements that allow adoption of IEEE Standards, joint development with other SDOs in the international community and such so that gives us the benefit to help the global market grow and leveraging the partnerships that that IEEE Standards Association has with other SDOs.

What's one message about the Smart Grid you would like to communicate?

The one message I want to communicate is that Standards are very important to realize the Smart Grid potential and that the IEEE Standards Association gives the industry and environment for collaboration and consensus building and whether it's the incubation of technology to the actual standards development of the technology through the deployment of certification and testing and other market acceptance of the technology. So we feel that the message that we need to convey and get out there is that Standards are very important and we are here to partner with the industry.

Who does the IEEE Standards Association work with in developing the standards?

So the EEE Standards Association works with a multitude of other organizations, internal and external. We leverage the expertise across the broad spectrum of the Smart Grid Technology Space, whether it's the Power & Energy Society developing power type standards, the Communication Ssociety developing communications, whether it's a narrow band communication, broad band communications or the Computer Society leveraging the 802 Family of Standards to help implement data and networking capabilities of the Smart Grid and again we’re working with other organizations to help realize the implantation of Smart Grid outside vendors, IEC, ISO, JTC1, other SDOs, government agencies such as NIST and the SJP. We're involved with those organizations while again the idea is that no one organization is going to cover the full gamut, although IEEE covers the broad spectrum of all the technologies needed, but still that partnership is very crucial to make the implementation of the Smart Grid happen.

What is the IEEE Standards Association doing while looking at the evolution of the Smart Grid?

That's a great question, and what we're doing is actually partnering with the IEEE society and technology spaces for the Smart Grid and looking at long term what the Smart Grid is going to look like, and providing a vision of the technology for each of those societies in communications, IT, power control systems and vehicles and developing long term visions that are looking beyond the year 2030; looking 30 to 40 years out and trying to envision what the Smart Grid Technology will look like for those specific societies and how it's going to evolve to get us there. So it's going to help leverage and give the IEEE and the industry the ability to see a potential division of the Smart Grid and the technology that is going to be needed to get there.

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