What Is The Smart Grid?

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Wherever transmission and distribution engineers get together chances are before long the discussion will turn to the Smart Grid and its technologies. Just what is the Smart Grid or Intelligent Grid – it goes by more than one name? It is a term tossed around pretty indiscriminately. Is it smart meters, AMR, or AMI? Is it customer data over transmission lines, a new method of substation design, micro-grids, or new transmission design techniques? What does it do? Does it improve SAIDI, CAIDI, or SAIFI? Will it improve demand side management, demand response, or asset management? What about system reliability, eliminating grid blackouts, or self healing? The answer is all of the above and so much more. Last year, I sponsored the formation of the Intelligent Grid Subcommittee within the PES T&D Committee – yeah I do get a good idea once in a while. This subcommittee was formed to help members become educated in all the many aspects of the Intelligent Grid and define terms. Early this year officers (Wanda Reder and John McDonald) from PES contacted me about the subcommittee. They understood the importance of the subcommittee's work and elevated it to Committee level. Yes folks, it is now officially known as the "IEEE PES Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee" – my subcommittee grew up fast. I am so proud of this group, the officers, and the work they are doing. Getting back to my original thought – what is the Smart Grid next Wednesday afternoon you can find out from the experts themselves. The "Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee" is presenting a Super Session titled “The Smart Grid.” I think if you attend, a lot of the questions I raised above will be answered. Doug Houseman (session chairman) has been telling me all about the program and it is a good one. I don't want to miss it. Erich Gunther (Intelligent Grid Coordination Committee – Chairman) is going to be one of the panelists. I am pretty sure the other officers will be there too (Don Von Dollen – Vice Chair and Steve Pullins – Secretary) supporting him. If you are interested in joining the committee or just learning about the Smart Grid these are the people that will make it happen. Check you program for exact time and place – don't miss it. I'd welcome any and all comments.

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