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In-depth, timely report explains complex process of drafting smart grid interoperability standards

Rockville, MD (December 6, 2011) -- Progress toward grid modernization, as well as grid reliability and a great many smart grid firms’ profitability, depends on interoperability standards – and the real debates, along with the biggest fights, will be happening in the next year, a new Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc (MMI) exclusive industry report revealed.

Among the in-depth report’s findings:  Utilities are delaying grid modernization because they cannot afford to be stuck with obsolete technology once standards are set.  Manufacturers and network developers are postponing full-scale entrance into smart grid product creation for fear their devices or software might fail to meet standards once they are established, thus becoming unsalable.  And investors are hesitating to put money into technology that could become obsolete.

While the critical importance of interoperability standards is evident, the process that exists today in the US looks at times like a topsy-turvy mess.  “Smart Grid Today's Authoritative Guide to US Interoperability Standards” sorts it all out – so that anyone who wants to get involved, or at least comprehend what has happened and what is about to happen, can do so immediately. The report serves as a compass for the busy and perhaps even confused executive who must make business decisions about the smart grid today.

The exclusive MMI report examines exactly how the standards-setting process works, what has been decided, what is next on the agenda, how smart grid industry stakeholders can have their say now and how they can keep up with future developments.  MMI publishes Smart Grid Today, the independent journal of the digital energy industry, which has been reporting on the standards-setting process since the spring of 2009.

“We have devoted hundreds of hours to researching the standards-setting process, reviewed thousands of pages of documents, mixed and matched new information with daily reporting on interop standards over the last 30 months and conducted interviews with many key players,” Modern Markets Intelligence CEO Sam Spencer said.  “The result is a landmark report that takes pains to make clear and accessible a process that is inherently complex.  It is chock full of highly actionable information -- all the tools industry professionals need to navigate the standards-setting process.  Our report takes a close look at how potential outcomes could affect stakeholders’ businesses.  It also explains exactly how those stakeholders can get involved in standards debates and negotiations.  The report points out that now is the time to get involved as initial drafts of dozens of standards have been completed and are either headed to the floor of the SGIP for a vote or are almost there.”

Smart Grid Today's Authoritative Guide to US Interoperability Standards” is “an accessible, easy-to-follow and very practical guide,” said EMeter CTO Chris King.  “It makes sense of the hundreds of current and potential standards affecting the smart grid,” he said, adding that it “explains how standards are a process and an opportunity -- not must-build mandates."

The 74-page report “provides a useful overview on [NIST’s and SGIP’s] roles, relevant working groups and key leadership,” EnerNOC CEO Tim Healey said, adding that it is “a valuable baseline of information."

The smart grid is built on the idea that everything -- a smorgasbord of hardware and software -- will be able to talk to each other, to interact and to efficiently and securely operate together.  Without interoperability, the smart grid and every company that seeks to use it or make money from it will struggle, at best, and fail at worst.  Without uniform standards and the testing and certification of standards and products, interoperability does not exist and the potential of the smart grid is jeopardized.

The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) on Nov. 21 issued a “call to action” when it proposed a committee to keep more utilities abreast of the US smart grid interop standards-development process, Smart Grid Today reported.  Only about 50 of the more than 3,000 US utilities participate in the standards-drafting process.  “Ensuring that we've got all the key stakeholders in at the table on this process is going to be critical to support the deployment of technology based on these standards,” George Arnold, NIST national coordinator for smart grid interoperability, told Smart Grid Today at the time.

Details about “Smart Grid Today's Authoritative Guide to US Interoperability Standards” can be found on the Smart Grid Today website ( and by calling +1-301-769-6804 (888-471-4447 toll-free in the US and Canada).

About Smart Grid Today

Smart Grid Today's mission is to deliver daily, unbiased, comprehensive and original reporting on emerging trends, applications and policies driving the modern utility industry -- in a signature format that features highly concise and easy-to-understand news copy based on trusted reporting, exclusive interviews, informed analysis and strategic insights that our subscribers rely on to succeed every business day.  Smart Grid Today is published 247 times a year by Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc. (MMI), publisher of independent trade news for the evolving energy industry of the 21st century.  It is located in Rockville, Md.  Sam Spencer founded MMI in 2009 after writing, editing, marketing, publishing, running and inventing trade news publications and related products for three decades.

Media Contact
Brett Brune
Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.
VP of Editorial

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