The Biggest Thorn for Smart Grid Standards? The Home Area Network
Michael Kanellos | November 23, 2009 at 2:01 PM 4 Comments
The National Institute of Standards and Technologies is busy on one of the most ambitious standards programs in the history of technology: it wants to set 77 standards for the smart grids, including standards for 14 priority areas.
And it wants a number of the important standards, such as demand response monitoring and energy use information sharing, done in a few months.
This is not going to be easy. Some technology standards bodies can linger for years.
Last week, I sat on a panel with George Arnold, who heads up the project for NIST, at the GreenBeat Conference and asked him which are the ones that look like the biggest problems.
Surprisingly, he said home area networks. Homes should be easy to control, right? They only have a few hundred to a few thousand square feet and contain a finite number of appliances which get replaced at a fairly slow rate.
The challenge lay in achieving cooperation. Appliance makers are nervous about added costs. No single standard–ZigBee, WiFi, power line networking, some form of RF mesh–has won out yet and interoperability remains a work in progress. Different camps continue to promote different paradigms for home energy control. For hardware makers, this adds up to compounded risks.
How NIST gets through this will be one of the biggest issues next year in smart grid.