IEEE Smart Grid Technical Activities Committee (TAC): 2020 Year-End Review

By Satish Saini, Chair Smart Grid TAC

IEEE Smart Grid, a fully functioning program of IEEE under the administration of IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) has developed as a professional community and providing globally recognized Smart Grid information, expertise, and guidance for individuals and organizations involved in the modernization and optimization of the power system generation, transmission and distribution grid including the integration of renewable energy sources. It provides a platform under the leadership of Peter Wung as the Chair of the IEEE Smart Grid program and Phyllis Caputo as IEEE staff Project Manager through its Steering Committee, Operations Committee, and 6 committees managing portfolios like R&D, Education, Publications, Meetings & Conferences, Marketing and Technical Activities.

IEEE Smart Grid Technical Activities Committee (IEEE SG TAC), under the IEEE Smart Grid program, works with a focus on new technologies that are close to adoption and deployment by interacting with Smart Grid stakeholders globally which include Local Distribution Companies, utilities, vendors, contractors and service providers (both IEEE and non-IEEE) on inter-disciplinary technical topics. A wide scope was assigned to this committee to focus on the above as well as to closely collaborate with the IEEE Smart Grid R&D Committee on tracking technologies that are becoming mature from a research perspective and also to collaborate with IEEE-Standards Association (SA) to review Smart Grid related Standards. The committee is further interacting with other IEEE societies, committees, working groups, and task forces, and others to achieve its objectives.

The current SG TAC started its functions and activities with a Mission to develop and provide a conducive atmosphere for various market participants and stakeholders involved in Smart Grid related programs through a global community of professionals having relevant knowledge, expertise, and skills; and a Vision in bringing together both IEEE and Non-IEEE experts, societies, agencies and organizations at a common platform to share knowledge and facilitate the successful development and implementation of technologically advanced, environment-friendly and secure smart-grid related projects and initiatives around the world. After its formation, various goals and objectives were set based on the above scope, Mission & Vision.

Making progress over the years step by step and with the continuing support from IEEE staff Project Manager Phyllis Caputo and IEEE Smart Grid Chair Peter Wung, the committee made good progress in various areas and segments in 2020. The committee has been able to have a good membership of experts and professionals from diverse backgrounds globally and all showed their presence throughout the year in the regular monthly meetings which are scheduled for the 4th Monday of each month.

The committee has a well-structured Google drive and all documents including the committee’s scope, mission, vision, road map and action plan, meetings proceedings, etc. are posted and updated regularly for review and feedback. The committee has a well-defined Road Map and Action Plan for 2019-2021 with updates posted regularly. The Action Plan is followed up and monitored with efforts and participation from various committee members.

Under its Action Plan, 2019-2021- numerous stakeholders are contacted globally including utilities, vendors, manufacturers and suppliers, consultants, academicians, forums, and others involved in smart grid related activities. A good exposure about IEEE and its smart grid program is provided with a brief doc. Through various communications, it has been found that the majority of the medium and small utilities have not much idea to effectively initiate, develop and implement smart grid programs with many implementing these in bits and pieces and are not able to get a comprehensive solution and overall benefits from the available technologies. Based on all the inputs and study- “A practical illustrated guide for smart distribution grid for utilities” is in progress to help the utilities make proper decisions. This is in collaboration with various utilities, vendors, manufacturers, suppliers, and academicians.

The committee is working on 4 White Papers related to various topics in Smart Grid as “Smart Metering”; "Microgrids: Utility Challenges and Opportunities”; “5G Technology applications in Smart Grid” and “Electrical Vehicles (EVs) and Charging System integration in Smart Grid”. Each White Paper has a separate Sub-committee and a Team Lead with experts from the industry, utilities, academicians, and others from the relevant fields. The contents, chapters, and topics of each are developed with inputs from all, and structure is finalized by assigning responsibilities of each chapter to a particular member stakeholder based on the expertise.

Coordination was established with IEEE-SA to work on Smart Grid related Standards (technologies and devices) to help the stakeholders; focusing on existing relevant standards, standards needing upgrades, obsolete Standards to be abandoned/deleted and standards which are missing and need to be developed. Work is in progress and a list of Standards currently available within IEEE has been prepared as a draft to review further.

The committee is further coordinating and exploring participation with the owners and others in developing and establishing a unique concept as “CIRT: Center of Innovation, Research and Technology-Smart Grid” a State-of-the-art lab in utilities and institutes in collaboration with the initiative owners, educational institutes, utilities, vendors and suppliers. Communication is in progress to provide professional guidance through its platform.

Under a new initiative in this committee which started in the summer of 2020, a series of presentations were delivered on various subjects, technologies, and current issues related to power systems and smart grid and this effort will be continued further.

Another exciting and challenging opportunity has cropped up in summer 2020 under a unique IEEE PES Life Long Learning Initiative (LLLI) on developing a course on Distribution Automation utilizing existing IEEE, PES, and other resources related to the subject, and a draft is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Now as we are approaching the end of a challenging and tough year of 2020, the committee is thankful to Peter Wung and Phyllis Caputo for providing all the required help and support this year and extremely thankful to all of our members, participants, and other contributors for their great work; without which we would not have been there where we are today. With the upcoming year 2021, it is hoped to see this committee at new heights with more active members, productive and meaningful efforts from all through their efforts to serve IEEE, Smart Grid, and our global power and energy community with more relevant resources.

For any questions, suggestions, or comments and to join the Smart Grid Technical Activities Committee, please contact Satish Saini or Phyllis Caputo.

Happy New Year to all with a wish that this year 2021 should bring prosperity, safety, and good health to all with more innovative ideas for a Smarter Grid.


For a downloadable copy of the December 2020 eNewsletter which includes this article, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.

Pic Satish Saini
Satish Saini has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, with many advanced courses and a Licensed Professional Engineer registered with PEO, Canada. Saini has 35 years of accomplished management experience in various fields of energy and power. He also has electrical utility operations and management at senior level, business development and project management related to DS grid modernisation, renewable energy, smart metering / AMI, Advanced Distribution System (ADS) / Smart Grid, DSM and DMS, including hiring, training and mentoring a diverse work force from various backgrounds. Saini actively participated in the development of various energy policies with ministries, regulatory authorities, utilities and local distribution companies. Saini is an active member of IEEE in various committees, Task Forces and Working Groups related to Smart Distribution, Smart Grid, MicroGrids and Smart Cities and serves as Chair of IEEE Smart Grid Technical Activities Committee and Chair of Education Committee IEEE Toronto Section. He has a strong vision of developing the aging DS Grid with latest innovative technologies and solutions along with transforming utilities through smart grid programs.

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