The Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse
Written by Saifur Rahman and Manisa Pipattanasomporn
The Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse is a web portal for sharing and disseminating smart grid information, including background documents, deployment experiences, technologies, standards and on-going projects around the world. It is designed to serve as the first-stop shop for all smart grid information.
The Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse (SGIC) web portal was developed under a contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and launched in September 2010. As described in an Energy Department press release announcing the project's initiative, the objective was "to design, populate, manage and maintain a public Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse portal…It is envisioned that the SGIC will be the essential gateway that connects the smart grid community to the relevant sources of information that are currently scattered and distributed on the worldwide web."
The SGIC was designed and developed and is managed and maintained by the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute in Arlington, Virginia, with assistance from the IEEE Power and Energy Society and EnerNex Corporation. The target audience includes the general public, electricity customers, electric utilities and those engaged in smart grid-related standards, policy and technology development.
The SGIC groups content under the following categories: smart grid 101, smart grid projects, deployment experiences, in-depth information and international information. Each group is presented in such a way as to allow interested users to explore the smart grid-related material most appropriate to a user’s level of interest and technical sophistication.
Smart Grid 101: aims at providing an overview of the smart grid and frequently used smart grid acronyms and definitions. Designed for the beginner, it also hosts a resource library that assembles smart grid-related documents and multimedia material. As of June 2011, this section of the portal had upwards of 1,000 smart grid-related items, including audio and video files and slide presentations.
Smart Grid Projects: presents a database of smart grid projects in the United States. It is a good starting point to learn about both government-funded projects and those sponsored by the private sector. As of June, there were 202 smart grid projects reported in the SGIC database. California and Texas are the two states with the highest number of smart grid projects, with 19 and 18 projects, respectively.
Deployment Experiences: is intended for those wanting access to information about use cases, lessons learned, cost-benefit analyses and business cases from the implementation of various smart grid projects. As of June, the portal contained 208 such cases, 103 documents related to lessons learned, 129 cost-benefit analysis documents and 37 business case-related documents. Full documents can be downloaded.
In-Depth Information: presents the necessary building blocks that support smart grid implementation, including standards, technologies, cyber security, legislation, education and training. It is designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of the technology behind the smart grid and the opportunity it provides for those who have the technical know-how. As of June, it offered links to 162 smart grid standards, over 90 smart grid cyber security-related documents and provided information on more than 70 smart grid technologies.
The In-Depth Information section also tracks U.S. legislation and regulations at both the Federal and state levels, and contains a guide to 54 DOE-sponsored workforce training programs. Over 200 demand response-related documents are hosted as well.
International Information presents a database of smart grid projects outside the United States. Information on 59 smart grid projects worldwide was available as of June. These include one project in Africa, two in the Americas, eight in Asia, 31 in Europe and 17 in Oceania.
The SGIC web portal allows an authenticated user to save their favorite documents on a "MySGIC" page, which becomes the user’s personalized online library of all things smart grid. Users are encouraged to submit relevant smart grid information to the Clearinghouse using the content submission platform on the landing page at www.sgiclearinghouse.org.
Manisa Pipattanasomporn is an assistant professor at the Advanced Research Institute. She is working on multiple research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy on topics related to the smart grid and microgrids.
Saifur Rahman is the founding director of the Advanced Research Institute at Virginia Tech, where he is the Joseph R. Loring professor of electrical and computer engineering. He also directs the Center for Energy and the Global Environment, and is the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy.