January 2012 Mini-Theme: The Smart Grid
Guest Editor's Introduction: Harold Tepper

The smart grid is a profound transformation in how electricity is received, used, and distributed that will play out over the next several decades. This change will affect virtually every aspect of human life and the environment.

Smart grid efforts are intensifying around the world, bringing together electrical, communications, and information infrastructures. Tremendous global investments underscore the extent of this effort. For example, Pike Research estimates cumulative smart grid investment will reach US$171.3 billion in the Asia Pacific region by 2017 and $80.3 billion in Europe by 2020. The US is expected to see roughly $60 billion invested in intelligent smart grid infrastructure by 2030, according to analysts at Innovation Observatory.

To facilitate the rollout, IEEE is a unifying force for a global, cross-disciplinary community of smart grid innovators, architects, and implementers, and it has emerged as a prominent thought leader in accelerating the smart grid effort. In January 2010, the IEEE Smart Grid Initiative was launched to organize, coordinate, leverage, and build upon the strengths of various entities within and outside IEEE with smart grid expertise and interest.

This new IEEE-wide initiative saw the launch of the IEEE Smart Grid Web portal in 2010. This portal was designed to be an essential resource for anyone involved in the smart grid, whatever their industry or technical discipline. That was followed in January 2011 by the introduction of the IEEE Smart Grid newsletter, which publishes insightful articles by internationally recognized smart grid experts.

As this special Computing Now feature indicates, IEEE is home to the world’s leading smart grid experts and a catalyst for the global technology innovations that are turning the smart grid into reality.

The following four articles look at smart grid-related issues from a variety of perspectives, from security to education. (Login may be required for full text)

Smart Grid Roundtable Discussion

Harold Tepper of IEEE Technical Activities moderated a roundtable discussion between four IEEE Smart Grid experts, during which they discussed smart grid issues, such as consumer education, standards, security, and more. That roundtable discussion was cut into smaller interviews.

Harold Tepper gives an overview of what the smart grid is. Wanda Reder, John D. McDonald, and Dick DeBlasio discuss the smart grid and some necessary restructuring in the utilities industry.

John D. McDonald and Russ Lefevre discuss the smart grid’s killer apps.

Dick DeBlasio discusses smart grid standards.

Wanda Reder and Dick DeBlasio discuss consumer education with regard to the smart grid.

John D. McDonald, Wanda Reder, and Russ Lefevre discuss smart grid policy and regulatory issues.

Russ Lefevre discusses electric vehicles and the smart grid.

John D. McDonald discusses smart grid security issues.

Dick DeBlasio further discusses smart grid standards.

Dick DeBlasio, Wanda Reder, and John D. McDonald discuss renewable energies and storage issues.

Wanda Reder discusses the next steps for the smart grid.

Read the full roundtable discussion transcript.

About the Speakers

Dick DeBlasio is an IEEE P2030 Working Group chair. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University. Contact him at dick.deblasio@nrel.gov.

Russ Lefevre is an IEEE Steering Committee on Electric Vehicles chair. He has a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Contact him at r.lefevre@earthlink.net.

John D. McDonald is director of technical strategy and policy development at General Electric Digital Energy. He has an MS in electrical engineering and power engineering from Purdue University and an MBA in finance from University of California, Berkeley. Contact him at johnd.mcdonald@ge.com.

Wanda Reder is vice president of S&C Electric Company’s Power Systems and Services Division at the US Department of Energy. Contact her at wanda.reder@sandc.com.

Harold Tepper is a senior technical project manager for the Smart Grid Initiative with IEEE Technical Activities. He has an MBA in marketing and finance from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Contact him at h.tepper@ieee.org.