The IEEE SG eNewsletter is Changing to IEEE Smart Grid Bulletin in 2022!
Written by Panayiotis (Panos) Moutis
The year that is closing to its end has been a challenge and an opportunity in terms of the Smart Grid for many different reasons. I will point out two matters that have preoccupied my thoughts and my planning as the chair of the Publications Committee of the IEEE Smart Grid Community. One the one hand, the global pandemic has peaked for the second time after 2020, but thankfully some containment has been achieved thanks to the vaccines made available to the world. On the other hand, multiple new net zero energy sourcing pledges have been made, while, in the US, two big pieces of legislation relevant to decarbonization have been heavily debated with the one already passed and the second one approaching the finish line.
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I see these 2 issues as equally important and linked to each other, with COVID offering crucial learnings for the decarbonization of the electricity sector. Both of these issues demand from the whole world to rise up to unprecedented occasions for the sake of humanity and of future generations. The main difference is that the effects of the pandemic crisis are clearly visible here and now, with hospital beds terrifyingly crowded with thousands of dying or straggling patients every day, while the effects of the emissions crisis are much slower, but of no less dire end-result. For COVID, science managed to develop both vaccines and cures in very short times, test them, standardize them, make them widely available and mostly succeed in wide and swift adoption. For carbon emissions, electric grid and energy researchers have been developing the tools and technologies for years, standardizing them, commercializing them, yet the deployment and adoption have been – at best – underwhelming, without any immediate sense of urgency.
Let’s be clear and honest here. Carbon emissions are not a single-source/cause problem. There are multiple moving pieces. Livelihoods and societal development latch to various types of available fuel technologies. Security of energy supply makes for a compelling counter-argument to the simplistic and horizontal decarbonization of all processes for everyone and everywhere across the globe. Nevertheless, the challenges are not insurmountable. Multiple parts of innovative paradigms, technological advances and pieces of standardization have been gradually deployed in action, put in operation and activated as licensing processes. The articles that we presented to all of you, our readers, published throughout 2021 in the IEEE Smart Grid eNewsletter are a compilation exactly of these many, small, but intertwined efforts, combined harmoniously within a broader operating framework.
Ranging from how the smart grid can contribute to carbon capture all the way to how telecommunications are an inseparable part of the grid of the future, we reviewed a particularly diverse set of topics. Each of them, singled-out, represents incremental changes of niche novelty. If we compile, however, their collective results over the course of many years and across continents, well, it is a whole different ball game. You see, unlike COVID that the solutions were rather few, typical and uniformly applied across billions of people around the world, the decarbonization challenge is very unique to each economy, locality and the needs of the community.
What the decarbonization of the electricity sector requires from the Smart Grid paradigms, applications, research and standardization is to clearly articulate the aims, set the scope and determine interdependencies and collaborations. We can no longer discuss the Smart Grid as an extraneous piece of fringe research or limited application, that can only serve as a roadmap of irrelevant and abstract realizations. The call to global and swift action is ripe and must start now.
We recognize the severity of moving forward on decarbonizing the energy sector fast and efficiently by renaming our IEEE Smart Grid eNewsletter to IEEE Smart Grid Bulletin. This is not a set of informative pieces of generic interest anymore. This will be your frequent reminder that the Smart Grid comprises mature technologies, elaborate algorithms, tested methods, knowledgeable researchers and experienced practitioners ready to bring their impressive results to power systems around the world and reduce, curtail and capture carbon emissions in the electricity sector. In the coming months we will talk about renewables, storage, transmission and distribution systems and how artificial intelligence, the internet of things, digitalization of processes and control, and any other thing Smart Grid has made the grid work and shifting towards a future of clean energy without any discount in stability, security and quality of supply.
We welcome and request your inputs and thank you wholeheartedly for reading our articles and supporting our activities and sponsors.
To view all articles in this issue, please go to December 2021 eNewsletter. For a downloadable copy, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.
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