Virginia Tech posts beta version of Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse web portal

Virginia Tech announced today that it has posted a beta version of the Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse (SGIC) web portal to invite comments and suggestions on usability from both consumers and the smart grid community

The full version of the site will be released this fall. The Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute (ARI) in the National Capital Region was awarded a $1.25 million five-year contract by the Department of Energy (DOE) in October 2009 to develop the portal with content assistance from the IEEE Power & Energy Society and the EnerNex Corporation.

The web portal is the platform for information related to smart grid technologies, standards, rules and regulations, industry use cases and case studies, public awareness and education, and workforce training opportunities. It facilitates direct sharing and dissemination of smart grid information among various stakeholders on knowledge gained, lessons learned, and best practices. It is also designed to serve as a decision support tool for both state and federal regulators in their deliberations for rule-making and evaluating the impact of their investments in the smart grid technologies and software.

"The Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse offers a wide range of information from Smart Grid 101 for consumers who are just learning about the smart grid to case studies and standards for industry professionals who are tasked with implementing new technologies to in-depth technical specifications shared by those who have long been developing smart grid technology," said Saifur Rahman, Joseph R. Loring Professor of Engineering, director of ARI, and principal investigator (PI) for the SGIC portal. "Over the next few months we are hoping to get as many comments and suggestions as possible from all of these groups so that the official portal launched in the fall will be as wide-appealing and as effective as possible."

Educating consumers is one of the most important goals of the Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse, Rahman said. An easy to understand video on the portal explains how the smart grid integrates a digital communication overlay on the electro-mechanical grid from the power plant to the end-use appliance.

"We believe that by providing information about electricity usage, pricing, and incentives, we can help motivate better consumer purchasing patterns," said Rahman. "Active consumer participation is very important to achieving a more efficient and reliable operation of the overall grid."

Anyone visiting the portal is invited to contact the SGIC with comments and suggestions by clicking on "Contact SGIC Team" in the Contact Us box located at the bottom middle of the home page.

ARI (formerly the Alexandria Research Institute) is located in the Ballston area of Arlington, Va. It provides a platform for Virginia Tech's engineering and computer science researchers to interact with counterparts in academia, government, and industry in the National Capital Region and also serves as a gateway to the research and development base at the main campus in Blacksburg.