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New Insights Offered on Smart Grid

The July issue of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter features articles from international Smart Grid experts, sharing their insight, information and lessons learned.

John McDonald, IEEE Fellow and director of technical strategy and policy development for GE’s Digital Energy business, presents valuable lessons learned through Smart Grid field deployments, which practitioners can build upon to improve future project performance to achieve a smarter grid.

China’s approach to the smart grid is discussed by IEEE members Jinyu Wen, who leads the Smart Grid Operation & Control Research Group in the China State Key Laboratory of Advanced Electromagnetic Engineering and Technology, and Haibo He, who is a member of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rhode Island.

In the article, "What the Smart Grid Means—and Doesn’t Mean—for India," Rahul Tongia, principal research scientist at the Center for Study of Science, Technology, and Policy in Bangalore, notes the nation’s unique grid requirements where the most important technologies will be those that help constrain peak demand and peak load growth at reasonable cost, while cutting losses.

The role of the Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse web portal is described by IEEE Fellow Saifur Rahman, who directs the Center for Energy and the Global Environment, and is editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. His co-author is IEEE member Manisa Pipattanasomporn, an assistant professor at the Advanced Research Institute working on multiple research grants from the US National Science Foundation, the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Energy on topics related to smart grid and microgrids.

The IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter promotes greater understanding of critical issues and challenges that impact efforts to move Smart Grid from conception to reality, including power generation, transmission, and distribution, storage, technological advancement, renewables, infrastructure investment, funding, and R&D, standards, security, and communications.

Follow @ieeesmartgrid on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ieeesmartgrid or join IEEE Smart Grid on LinkedIn.

Partnerships Proposed to Speed Smart Grid

US President Barack Obama has announced a series of initiatives intended to help modernize the nation’s electric infrastructure, bolster electric-grid innovation, and advance a clean energy economy, in part by taking greater advantage of smart grid technologies.

Among the initiatives:

• $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment to upgrade the electric grid in rural America;
• The launch of Grid 21, a private-sector initiative to promote consumer-friendly innovations to make sure that all Americans have opportunities to benefit from the smart grid;
• New commitments by the Department of Energy to improve consumer access to their energy information, including the development of a crowd-sourced map to track progress, a data-driven competition designed to harness the imagination of US students to encourage home energy efficiency, and new efforts to measure progress;
• Expanded partnerships to continue working with states and stakeholders, including an initiative to share lessons learned from Recovery Act smart grid investments, regional stakeholder meetings, and updated online resources available at www.SmartGrid.gov;
• International collaboration to facilitate smart grid trade with the Asia-Pacific region;
• The formation of a Renewable Energy Rapid Response Team, co-led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Interior, and the DoE, to improve Federal coordination and ensure timely review of proposed renewable energy projects and transmission lines;

 

To speed the maturation of a smarter grid, the DoE is planning to a create a Smart Grid Innovation Hub to bring together federal researchers, private-sector innovators, and utility representatives to support research, development, and deployment of smart grid technologies. The DoE's Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy is funding new grid-controls research and collaborating with utilities and military bases to test new transformational technologies.

Smart Grids Have Power to Create Jobs

Turning the electric power system into a smart grid, or so-called "energy Internet," has already created thousands of US jobs and has the potential to create many more, according to a new report by a Duke University research team.

The team's report, "US Smart Grid: Finding New Ways to Cut Carbon and Create Jobs," identifies 334 US locations in 39 states that are already developing or manufacturing products for a smart grid. The region with the largest number of sites is the Southeast, with California having the most sites of any one state.

Nationwide, utilities now have more than 200 smart grid projects underway. Using two-way digital communication, a fully developed smart grid in the future will allow utilities and customers to share information in real time -- often automatically -- so both sides can more effectively manage electricity use. Smart grid promises to reduce carbon emissions, stimulate technology innovation and create jobs, and represents a huge technological advance over today's centralized, one-way US electric system, according to the Duke study.

"To make the most of job opportunities, the United States must continue pursuing the cutting edge of smart grid technologies, especially those needed for integrating renewable energy sources and electric vehicles into the grid," said Marcy Lowe, the study's lead author and a senior research analyst at Duke's Center for Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC).

The Duke team studied 125 leading US smart grid firms to assess their potential role in creating jobs in areas that include information technology, core communications, smart hardware, energy services, energy management, telecom service, and system integration. They estimate that US suppliers for smart grid technologies have already created more than 17,000 US jobs.

The study notes valuable export opportunities to be tapped by US firms, large and small. It further highlights well-established manufacturers that not only provide new devices to the smart grid market, but have also found new niches in software and services.

"Additional policy support is needed to tap the smart grid's potential to save energy, reduce carbon and create jobs," Lowe said. "This includes regulatory reform and fundamental changes in the electricity sector's business model, which currently provides incentives for utilities to sell more, not less, energy."

Jackie Roberts, director of sustainable technologies for Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the study, said that as energy prices climb, "we need energy efficiency strategies more than ever. Smart grid applications help save businesses money, but the benefits go far beyond that. The firms involved in delivering these new products and services cover 39 states, which shows the widespread market opportunities and job creation potential for America."

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