The nation's aging power grid is evolving into a modern, "smart" energy distribution network, and with these changes comes a host of challenges for the research and development community, as outlined in two new reports* issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The documents provide valuable perspective to power company system planners, industrial and academic researchers, and senior decision makers concerned with development of the smart grid.
Both reports –Technology, Measurement, and Standards Challenges for the Smart Grid and its companion, Strategic R&D Opportunities for the Smart Grid – identify the most important technical issues in the smart grid arena, and prioritize impediments and R&D areas that must be addressed for successful deployment of the smart grid. The latter publication, especially, should prove useful to a broader audience, according to NIST Engineering Laboratory Director Shyam Sunder.
"While other high-level documents, such as the 2012 NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0,** were written for the smart grid technical community, the Strategic R&D Opportunities for the Smart Grid report, in particular, will be understandable by non-technical audiences," Sunder says. We are using this latter report to reach out to industry and government leaders so they know what the most important challenges to smart grid development are."
The two reports are the product of a workshop held in August 2012 in Boulder, Colorado, for more than 90 leading technical and industry experts in the smart grid community. The workshop was a collaborative effort of NIST and the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), a joint institute of the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The documents reflect the near-consensus opinions of the attendees, and are intended to be of particular value to industry.