International tool for smart grid mapping

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) will launch a multi-dimensional interactive online tool for mapping the smart grid.

The IEC Smart Grid Standard Mapping Solution will create a map of the smart grid and enable smart grid managers around the world to quickly identify IEC international smart grid standards, position them in relation to their role in the smart grid and point out possible interactions and overlaps.

The announcement was made at October’s GridWeek conference in Washington DC during a panel discussion on Global Markets and Global Standards for the smart grid.

The mapping solution will help smart grid project managers to identify the standards they need in their smart grid. Currently, this process must be done manually, often by reading through thousands of pages of standard document, leading to non-reproducible results with the danger of creating more problems than are solved. The solution will be constantly updated, new use cases and standards will be continuously fed into the open source database. It will allow users to search by pointing to areas or links between elements of the electric system.

The mapping solution will launch by the end of 2010 or early 2011, and has already been recognised by major US smart grid standard players United States’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), CEN CENELEC and others.

The IEC is bringing relevant national or regional standards via a fast-track system into the international consensus process. Gradually, the new mapping solution will allow other organisations to add their own standards in layers in addition to IEC international standards.

“The smart grid represents a technical challenge beyond building infrastructure, and can’t reach its potential if every country and company is building it based on different standards,” IEC president, Jacques Régis said.

“Our international set of standards ensures the smart grid industry can grow and function as one co-ordinated entity, relying on optimal compatibility and the ability of one system or device to communicate with others.”

IEC smart grid strategic group chairman, Richard Schomberg said anybody working on smart grids, anywhere in the world, will be able to quickly navigate through the inter-operability standards they need to build smart grid projects, products and technology.

“This approach is unique in that computers will do the heavy lifting, dealing with the full complexity of the task, on behalf of the users. It provides the foundation for a sustainable evolution of the global smart grid standards portfolio,” Mr Schomberg said.