Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thoughts from SGIP 2.0

Just a quick update from the venue at the Inaugural SGIP 2.0 meeting.  First off: SGIP 2.0?  Whazzat?

The SGIP was created as a mostly-public public/private organization, to help NIST meet its mandate from the Energy Independence and Security Act.  That was 1.0.  Now it has finished its first year of transition to a mostly privately funded entity.  That's 2.0.  The mission is largely the same, but now it's mostly member-funded and member-driven.  There are a lot of moving parts involved, but that's the high level view.

Topics that seem to be getting a lot of traction include:

Transactive Energy.  That is a large-scale buzzphrase that covers a number of related concepts.  There is a lot of effort being put into nailing down a definition, but it essentially boils down to using economic factors and signals (price, a price surrogate, or some other monetary representation of a physical constraint) to manage energy and energy assets.  The idea is intended to be scalable, so that the concept can be applied within a single apartment in a multi-story complex, or to an entire utility service territory.  Conceptually, it is a neat concept, and ties in nicely to a "prices to devices" world, or the transition to one.  The open question (and it is almost always the open question anytime you are looking at a theoretical concept) is "Will it work in the real world?"  The related question is "Will it scale?"  Personally, I would like to think that it will both work and scale, because the theory is seductively elegant.  As always the devil is in the details, most of which are yet to be worked out.  Stay tuned.

Looking back, looking forward.  A number of the conversations I have had here have revolved around taking another look at some of the early foundational work in the light of what we've encountered "in the field."  This isn't an interest in re-working anything, just a recognition that we couldn't have possibly thought of everything the first time around.  Not so much re-inventing the wheel as realizing that we ought to put a tire on that sucker.

Getting politely scolded.  I have been politely, and nicely, scolded for having been off the radar for a while.  Mea Culpa, and thank you to the scolders for your concern.  That's part of why I'm doing this Blog entry.  I'll try to be better, I promise!  Related to that...

Where did the Regulators go?  As a former Regulatory person, I've been asked this a few times.  There are a lot of reasons, some of which are subject of another discussion, but there has been a real interest among resource-constrained state regulators to avoid duplicating effort.  Nick Wagner from the Iowa Utilities Board is here (Hi, Nick!) representing NARUC.  Nick is filling Paul Centolella's role (Hi, Paul!) as NARUC's point of contact with the SGIP.  I suspect Mr. Wagner will be one busy fella between now and the NARUC Winter Meetings.

Pull versus Push.  There seems to be a lot more (and to my ears very welcome) discussion of how to make the Smart Grid something that end-users ask for, instead of having to be sold on. 

That will do for now, as I said a bit ago, stay tuned...

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