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CEA forms committee to accelerate development of smart grid projects

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On November 22, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced it had formed a new committee to speed up the standardization of the Modular Communications Interface (MCI), which the organization says will benefit tech manufacturers, utilities, service providers and consumers as they all begin new smart grid endeavors.

The Smart Grid Interface Standards Committee will work to promote the specification, which will allow manufacturers to build products ready for smart grid integration that can read information from energy system interfaces no matter which communication technology is used.

The committee will work with the Universal Smart Network Access Port (USNAP) Alliance to promote adoption of the new MCI standard by performing a series of certification and test programs. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will also supply research data and conduct interoperability workshops displaying the uses of new devices and demand response systems.

"This committee is designed to accelerate the adoption and growth of Smart Grid-ready products," said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president of research and standards at CEA. "We’re eager to build on the significant efforts of USNAP and EPRI to create this standard by further addressing the needs of manufacturers, utilities, service providers and consumers alike."

The initiative will also be aided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which has requested that the efforts of USNAP Alliance and EPRI merge into one goal to identify the interface between a Universal Communication Module and a Smart Grid Device.

"This new specification addresses a significant gap in the smart grid for a unifying technology that enables a range of consumer products to respond to demand response events," said Brian Seal, technical executive at EPRI.

Jon Rappaport, chairman of USNAP Alliance, added that the specification will greatly benefit manufacturers by allowing them to build products that work in any system, while utilities will gain from the standard because of the lowered risk of stranded assets.

With interoperability at the forefront of smart grid technology, SUBNET Solutions Inc. is well prepared to meet the demand set by the development of new electrical infrastructure.

SUBNET's Unified Grid Intelligence is an interoperability system that is driven by the company's holistic approach to real-time integration of smart grid systems.

The approach enables a wide range of intelligent electronic devices installed on electrical infrastructure, such as substations or T&D feeders, to operate compatibly with a variety of business computer-based management systems, such as SCADA and asset management systems - communication that will be necessary in the new grid.  

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