IEEE: standards will enable home energy management

An update on progress, behind the scenes

Phil Carson | May 29, 2012

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Global standards are critical to the success of the power industry because they lay the groundwork for interoperability, innovation, market growth and economies of scale. To achieve those standards, a diverse array of industry stakeholders must achieve consensus. We asked Oleg Logvinov, member of IEEE-SA Standards Board, vice chair of IEEE Standards Association's P1901.2 Working Group, and director of market development at STMicroelectronics, about the drivers and progress in the standards-setting processes. 

Intelligent Utility: Your recent efforts in the IEEE-SA have focused on technologies enabling affordable home energy management systems that will help consumers meet utilities' demand-side objectives. What trends enable this work? 

Oleg Logvinov: We're at the nexus of several major trends. The geometries of silicon make it possible to embed intelligence in virtually in every device that consumes or produces energy in the home. The price of energy is rising, leading consumers to become more aware of how much they use and pay for.  At the same time, during the peak hours utilities' capacities are basically exhausted. And electric vehicles are entering the home becoming another load on the grid. Those factors create an environment in which we need to not only innovate but also change our behavior as consumers of energy.

Intelligent Utility: So standards are focused on enabling simple, cost-effective controls and coordination of distributed generation such as rooftop solar photovoltaics and home loads such as heating/cooling, large appliances, electric vehicles, lights and electronics, while at the same time communicating with the meter and the grid? 

Oleg Logvinov: That's right. We have to start thinking about the "intelligent home" in terms of being an energy island that produces and consumes energy internally and also draws or returns energy to the grid. Inside the home, we're talking about an interaction among the plurality of devices that now need to start talking to each other and potentially to some centralized control point.

Intelligent Utility: Tell us how you see standards paving the way for such a scenario. 

Oleg Logvinov: If we're talking about utility and appliance interaction, it's possible to accomplish that using proprietary technologies.  But once we expand our domain to include consumer and over-the-counter products and products offered by multiple service providers and multiple equipment manufacturers, that's really where we need to have a very strong platform of interoperable products based on standards. That would mean we can buy something at Fry's or Best Buy, bring it home, plug it in, and effectively forget that we have done so. The technology has to take care of all of the security provisioning, connectivity to appropriate data domains and interaction with the appropriate data planes. The pressure is on because the number and complexity of devices that have to interact with each other is rising. And that requires the networks inside of the home to become more and more sophisticated.

Intelligent Utility: This sort of development is going to take place over time, presumably. As networked appliances become available they'll replace older appliances as the latter reach the end of their useful life. So you're talking, maybe, five-, 10-year cycles in some cases. But controls should become cheap enough so that your average household would be able to take advantage of them, right?

Oleg Logvinov: If you think about appliances like washers and dryers, heating, ventilation and cooling, you're absolutely right. But if you start thinking about renewable energy and electric vehicles entering the home, lights changing from incandescent and fluorescent to LED, that opens an opportunity for introducing devices equipped with communication technologies and built-in intelligence. We have plenty of standards today in the IEEE covering both wired and wireless communication 1901, 1901.2, 802.3, 802.11, 802.15,4, etc. and a bunch of others that can be used for those applications today.

Intelligent Utility: Some standards are foundational, rather than application-specific, correct? You've mentioned IEEE-SA 2030 in that regard. Can you give us a little color in that area? 

Oleg Logvinov: The purpose of the IEEE-SA 2030 standard is to provide a bird's eye view of how we should approach the development of Smart Grid. We call it a system of systems standard because we're talking about something that includes communication and interaction models among diverse elements of the Smart Grid.  It also includes interaction at the application level among the various actors involved in the energy production, delivery and consumption cycle. So IEEE-SA 2030 is really a guide to how we should develop systems. It describes the kind of logical interconnections between various components. So this is a very good starting point for creating a portfolio of standards, for creating more concrete and manageable subtasks that will address each specific application, each specific link, each specific subsystem of a system. So IEEE-SA 2030 is a combination of an architecture and a development guide. 

(Editor's note: We'll run the second half of Logvinov's interview tomorrow.)

Phil Carson 
Editor-in-chief
Intelligent Utility Daily
pcarson@energycentral.com
303-228-4757

 

 

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Comments

High Tech Not Required

I'm pleased to see others thinking about plug-and-play home energy management devices that can be purchased at a local electronics retail store.  This is one area where utilities and their regulators are more likely to get in the way than to facilitate change.

However we shouldn't wait on high tech solutions to deal with the  weather-driven demand spikes that require lots of expensive standby capacity.  One simple action every homeowner and commercial business could adopt is to cool buildings at night using either ventilation or air conditioning.  There's enough research  available on precooling to suggest it could be very effective at shifting demand and reducing consumer bills.

Jack Ellis, Tahoe City, CA