2014 marks the fifth anniversary of IEEE Power & Energy (PES) Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) Conference series. IEEE PES ISGT North America (ISGT-NA), held again this year in Washington, D.C., featured Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), who delivered the opening keynote to a packed audience on Wednesday, February 19th.
After thanking IEEE for hosting the conference and for the continued leadership it has shown in smart grid, the US Secretary of Energy noted that the room was filled with people with a common goal – to figure out how we can push innovation and push the grid for the challenges not only of tomorrow, but of the next decades while of course having to continuously maintain the reliability that is so fundamental.
Dr. Moniz discussed why strengthening the power grid is more imperative than ever with climate change making severe weather more common, and noted that the grid of the future required fully leveraging smart grid technologies from microgrids to energy storage.
During his keynote address, Dr. Moniz explained how affordable, clean, and secure energy and energy services are essential for improving economic productivity, enhancing quality of life for citizens, protecting the environment, and ensuring a nation’s security. To help the US Federal Government achieve these goals, President Obama has directed the undertaking of a Quadrennial Energy Review, consisting of a comprehensive and integrated energy strategy resulting from interagency dialogue and active engagement of external stakeholders.
In addition, the diverse audience of nearly 600 attendees from over 40 countries, heard from 14 Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) projects funded by the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and the electric power industry, and three DOE Smart Grid Demonstration Programs (SGDP) projects. These practical sessions delivered best practices and lessons learned, including reports on the integration of distributed energy resources, systems integration and voltage/VAR optimization. A DOE report summarizing the information presented during the sessions and key points raised during the group discussions will be available on the IEEE Smart Grid web portal by the end of March at http://smartgrid.ieee.org.
In addition to IEEE PES member and non-member attendees from industry, government and academia, several reporters attended the 2014 ISGT, resulting in media coverage of the conference and panel sessions, such as the Washington Post article published on February 23rd “As smart-grid funding winds down, energy leaders assess progress” , which features quotes from some of the ISGT panelists including Steve Widergren, principal engineer with the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Craig Miller, who works for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; and Anne Hoskins, commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Plans are already underway for the 2015 ISGT NA, which will return to Washington, DC next year, and additional 2014 IEEE PES ISGT conferences are now scheduled. The IEEE PES 2014 ISGT Asia will be held on May 20-23, 2014 at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (http://ieee-isgt-asia-2014.com), and the IEEE PES 2014 ISGT Europe is taking place October 12-15, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey (http://www.ieee-isgt-eu.org).