Grid Interoperability

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= interoperability in the electric system



"The attention directed to the smart grid continues to grow. The drivers for change include high fuel costs, dependence on foreign energy sources, and environmental issues associated with fossil fuels. These and other challenges have heightened the interest of policymakers and businesses to look hard at the smart grid concepts as one of the few choices that can address energy sustainability.

Suddenly, people are becoming aware of the importance of getting the automation resources of the smart grid to connect and talk to each other.

But how do we enable resources such as smart buildings, homes, and factories to participate in the operation of a digitally connected electric system? The U. S. Department of Energy formed the GridWise™ Architecture Council (GWAC) to wrestle with this issue; their mission is to enable all elements of the electric system to interact. We call the successful integration of these automation systems “interoperability” and the objective is to make it easy.

With this article, we launch a quarterly update on the progress of interoperability in the electric system. By electric system, we include all the players, from regulators and policymakers, to electric service providers, generators, industrial controls, automated buildings, and connected homes.

So what progress has been made thus far? The GWAC is composed of members from each of these communities and over its three years of existence it has engaged influential stakeholders to define fundamental principles for interoperation, and in April assembled 50 respected system integration technologists in the development of a conceptual framework for addressing interoperability challenges. In addition, GWAC members have engaged policy and business decision-makers with a checklist of considerations for improving interoperability within their businesses and across the economic environment.

The work accomplished thus far is foundational -- it introduces interoperability as THE enabler for the Smart Grid and develops alignment around key concepts. The next step is to build awareness so the community will take action to remove impediments and improve interoperation between the growing number of automation systems throughout the electric energy spectrum. ..." (

More Information

Smart Grid News, at

GridWise Architecture Council,