Carnegie Mellon Hosts WCA Panel on Smart Grid Evolution-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Hosts WCA Panel on Smart Grid Evolution

The Wireless Communications Alliance (WCA) Smart Grid Special Interest Group presented a panel on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 titled “Smart Grid Evolution – 2010 and Beyond.”

The panel discussion focused on the factors defining the emerging Smart Grid industry. Panelists discussed the status of the relevant, emerging standards and the innovative communications systems helped or hindered by the emerging technical standards. Also of relevance were the regulatory mandates deriving from the emerging technical standards, and the unique challenges and constraints of managing the network of 100's of millions of devices, with reference to existing commercial network infrastructures.

Smart Grid’s goals and technologies have been evolving since the 1970's. However, recent political, ecological, and technical developments have pushed the field into the spotlight; and implementation plans are now dramatically accelerated.

Steve Ray, Distinguished Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley and Co-Chair of the WCA Smart Grid SIG, said, “We felt that the San Francisco Bay Area needed a neutral forum where developers, providers, stakeholders and even government regulators could regularly get together to network and talk about current smart grid issues. Judging from the response to this first meeting, it looks like we’ve tapped into some pent-up demand.”

The Smart Grid is defined specifically by its staggering scope and by fast-moving governance. Utilities, grid operations, service providers, technology providers, equipment suppliers, and consumers will feel the direct impact. Communications technologies, security technologies, interoperability enablers, and applications will play central roles; enabling management of the grid and delivery of innovative services without increasing vulnerability to deliberate disruption.

However, unlike the power grid of the past; regulators, regulations, and investment are moving in tandem and the rapidly evolving ecosystem is forming.

David Witkowski, President of the Wireless Communications Alliance, said, “We created the Smart Grid SIG to more focus on serving the community which is forming around this important technology. The strong response to the new SIG has been amazing, and our evolving partnership with Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley has been instrumental in supporting our team during the SIG’s critical pre-launch phase.”

The panel was moderated by TJ Glauthier, President, TJG Energy Associates LLC. Panelists included Andy Balaschak, Dir. Product Management, Tropos; Rob Conant, VP of Infrastructure Development, Trilliant; Bob Friday, Dir. Strategic Initiatives, WNBU, Cisco; Nada Golmie, Group Leader, Emerging and Mobile Network Technologies, NIST; Aloke Gupta, Senior Energy Analyst, CPUC; Robert Gustin, Industry Solutions Manager Utilities, Sprint Nextel; Michael Wojcik, Manager, Enterprise Data Solutions, Verizon Wireless; and Seppo Yrjola, Principal Innovator, CTO unit, Nokia Siemens Networks.

“Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley is currently in the planning stages of building a research program in several smart grid technologies, including renewable energy generation, green buildings, and information interoperability. We are always interested in public and private partners as we grow in this important new direction,” said Ray.