Making the case for collaboration on interoperability standards
John D. McDonald serves as chairman of the board of SGIP 2.0, Inc., and works as director of technical strategy and policy development at GE Digital Energy. McDonald earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electric power engineering at Purdue University, and his MBA in finance at the University of California, Berkeley. He is past president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), an IEEE PES distinguished lecturer, and board chair of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
The old joke about standards – “Which one? There’s so many to choose from …” – has been effectively laid to rest, as you read this article. Today, we see the convergence of global standards into just a handful for fundamental utility communications, an amazing development based on decades of experience and just a few years of very focused work by stakeholders.
Forward thinking in the power industry now focuses on holistic, harmonized solutions rather than the mere addition of discrete technology components. We have a more comprehensive view of grid modernization than just bolting on products touted during the hype cycle prevalent only a few years back. This new view of the smart grid landscape has been made possible by advances in integration and interoperability achieved thanks to the establishment of standards and open architecture.
The corollary, of course, is a hard truth: some of the work done to date, under the old paradigm of bolt-on, component-based technology, will require re-engineering, with attendant costs.
We’ve achieved this more rational perspective on grid modernization by design, not happenstance. The recent past is prologue to a more productive future.
NIST, EISA, and SGIP
Consider the procession of events and forward thinking that led us here.