Year in Review: R&D Committee

With 2019 winding down and 2020 right around the corner, the R&D Committee wanted to say thank you for supporting our cause, and we applaud your continued backing in the future.

The Research and Development (R&D) Committee was appointed by the IEEE Smart Grid to identify emerging R&D areas in smart grid-related domains, engage IEEE societies in pertinent areas for collaboration, support and collaborate with public and private enterprises to assess priority areas, and disseminate smart grid and sustainable energy research and implementation strategies. To this end, the R&D committee evaluates technology, capability, and strategy road maps to relate technology developments in the IEEE organizational units (OUs); surveys, leverages, and promotes the R&D activities conducted across IEEE OUs; and identifies research trends and opportunities to collaborate and fill gaps.

In 2019, the R&D committee, under the leadership of outgoing chair Dr. Andy Knight (SMIEEE) from the University of Calgary, developed the process of categorizing the foreseeable R&D topics that will serve to build the Smart Grid. In so doing, the R&D committee also determined that new paradigms are needed to fully describe the future R&D topics for IEEE Smart Grid. The R&D committee created a process based on the technology insight and foresight process to clearly categorize the present and future R&D topics into the existing IEEE Smart Grid Domains and Sub-Domains structures as well as amend that structure. The valuable contributions made by Andy and all R&D Committee members are paving the way for comprehensive categorization of Smart Grid technologies and capabilities that will help fundamentally reshape the energy industry.

The R&D Committee led a successful transition in leadership in 2019. Dr. Manuel Avendaño (SMIEEE) from Southern California Edison succeeded Dr. Knight as Chair of the committee and Mangaya Sivagnanam (SMIEEE) from Ingersoll Rand was appointed as the first Vice-Chair of the Committee. Both Mangaya and Manuel would like to thank the IEEE Smart Grid for the opportunity to lead this exciting and forward-thinking committee until 2021. They greatly appreciate the groundwork that Andy laid for the success of the R&D Committee program.

The IEEE Smart Grid conducted a survey in 2019 to obtain feedback from its members and results are particularly encouraging for the R&D Committee:

  • Research and Development is the functional area from the IEEE Smart Grid of most interest to respondent members.
  • Research and Development is the area with the highest interest in volunteering on a committee among respondent members.
  • Almost 7 out of 10 respondent members are either satisfied or very satisfied with the IEEE Smart Grid content in the R&D functional area.

In 2020, the R&D Committee will strive to keep the momentum going, leverage members’ engagement, and support the upward trend in satisfaction. The committee will work toward objectives focused on analyzing and disseminating the main topics of interest identified in the 2019 Smart Grid Member Survey, liaising with members of partner societies to bring perspectives from around the world, and creating periodic content covering emerging R&D areas in smart grid-related domains.

The 2019 Smart Grid Member Survey included open-ended questions such as What topics do you think IEEE Smart Grid should focus on in the Research area? The R&D Committee will analyze the vast amount of information collected from the survey to identify the research topics of most interest to the global Smart Grid community. The main deliverable for 2020 will be a publication that highlights pivotal R&D areas and maps them onto the Smart Grid Domains and Sub-Domains structure.

The R&D Committee will combine efforts with the Technical Activities Committee, which focus on new technologies that are close to adoption and deployment, to track technological maturity levels. The main deliverable for 2020 will be a collaboration strategy that enables both committees to assess the technical maturity of smart grid technologies throughout their life cycle.

The R&D Committee will survey the R&D efforts of all IEEE OUs involved in Smart Grid activities and collaborate and liaise with representatives from each OU. The main deliverable for 2020 will be a publication that promotes the interest areas of OUs within Smart Grid R&D and evaluates and compares existing Smart Grid and related technology road maps.

Finally, the R&D Committee plans to bring to the IEEE Smart Grid community knowledge, resources, and opportunities to participate. The main deliverable(s) for 2020 will be new content (white papers, webinars, newsletters, workshops, interviews, and so forth) available at the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.

To get involved, please join the IEEE Smart Grid R&D Committee. To learn more, contact Manuel Avendano or Mangaya Sivagnanam.

Special thanks to Albert Ogetto, Gbenga Apata, and Sasikala Devaki for their contributions to this article.

For a downloadable copy of the December 2019 eNewsletter which includes this article, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.


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