Why They Matter
Christine Hertzog is a Technical Advisor for Information and Communications Technologies and Cyber Security at EPRI. She was previously the founder of a consulting firm focused on Smart Grid ecosystems. She authored the Smart Grid Dictionary and co-authored Data Privacy for the Smart Grid. Brian Seal manages EPRI's Information and Communication Technology research in the areas of advanced metering, demand response, and integration of distributed energy resources. Brian has been involved in international efforts to create standards for interoperability of consumer appliances, solar inverters and smart meters.
Utilities have decades of experience in supervisory control, data acquisition systems and load controls that historically worked with a limited number of devices. Now, because of the ubiquity of wireless communications and the rise of inexpensive communications-enabled sensors, there is impressive growth in the types of devices that could play a part in utility and aggregator programs to provide grid support.
These programs are critical to ensuring safe, reliable, and resilient grid operations. They enable renewable energy, shift and reduce loads, provide reactive power support, and help ride through power fluctuations. But there are stranded investment risks if utilities, manufacturers, and consumers make communications interface choices that are not open, standard, and supportive of direct access.
EPRI is working to limit these risks through our research, education, and standards activities focused on device connectivity that meets these criteria. Let's start with some definitions.
What is open? When it comes to communications interfaces, the term open means that the technical description to connect to an interface is published and available. If access is gained through royalty payments, memberships, or non-disclosure agreements, it is not considered open.