Blogging About the Smart Grid

TERESA HANSEN, Editor in chief

A few months ago, my letter from the editor was about social media. I mentioned that I’m not completely comfortable with using Facebook and Twitter and not convinced that I need to be. In the past few months, however, I’ve warmed to the idea a bit. I’ve seen many applications of social media that make a lot of sense. For example, in late February, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), launched a public forum to solicit comments on the nation’s evolving smart electric power grid—specifically the size, shape and requirements of a consumer interface with the smart grid.

According to the OSTP, the Executive Branch is interested in options: the possibilities available to consumers interfacing with a smart grid that can provide enough information for choice, control and optimization of energy use.

Using the blog format, OSTP and NIST created a venue for constructive discussion on a number of questions related to a smart grid customer interface. NIST hoped the discussions would concentrate on three specific areas: architecture, data access and ownership, and standards related to the customer interface.

George Arnold, NIST national coordinator for smart grid interoperability posted the first blog to kick-off the online conversation. Arnold discussed ways to ensure a positive customer connection to the smart grid.

Arnold wrote, “Ideally, the consumer interface will be practical and straightforward, encourage widespread adoption of smart grid applications, and promote U.S. innovation in clean energy technologies. This blog was created to provide a forum to hear your views on issues related to the architecture and standards for the consumer interface with the smart grid as well as policies concerning consumer access to and ownership of smart grid data. Your views will help inform government policies, the work of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, and the actions and decisions of many others in the diverse smart grid community.”

Within hours of Arnold’s initial blog, comments from others within the industry were being posted and meaningful dialog was already taking place. Clearly, this particular social media dialog is worthwhile and will benefit smart grid development.

By the time you read this editorial, it will likely be too late for you to post your views on smart grid customer interface standards. But, if this forum turns out to be as successful as I think it will, you’ll have future opportunities to blog your ideas.


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