Numerous analyses, including the “Prism” analysis at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), show that energy conservation and distributed resource integration are critical elements of an overall strategy to reduce carbon emissions. The smart grid is the enabling infrastructure that makes much higher levels of distributed resource integration possible. The value is maximized by leveraging Distributed Resources at both the local and overall system level as a “virtual power plant” to better match energy supply with demand along with related value-added benefits.
Due to the complexity, number and scale of the systems and devices involved in creating a demand-side virtual power plant, interoperability between the various systems is the key to success. An interoperable smart grid fosters increased competition among suppliers, innovation, choice, reduced costs and reduced capital risk caused by technology or vendor obsolescence, and enables automation resulting in increased value and improved reliability.
Unfortunately, interoperability cannot realistically be achieved by a single entity and requires collaboration from numerous organizations including utilities, regulatory
bodies, standards bodies, vendors and more. An approach of structured regional utility demonstrations designed to promote and evaluate integration of distributed resources at all levels of power system operations will further smart grid interoperability. Utilizing a standardized approach like the IntelliGrid® methodology to develop use cases and standard functional requirements can further communication, information, and control infrastructures required to support integration of emerging technologies as well as identify critical gaps in existing standards providing focus for future research and development.