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Industry Architecture for the Electric System of the Future

Mar 8, 2003 Electric Power Research Institute

The Electricity Innovation Institute (E2I), an affiliate of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), has selected a team headed by GE Global Research to assist in the initial development of an industry-wide architecture to meet the emerging needs of a digital society. The 18-month, multimillion dollar project will define an overall technical framework for the design of communications and intelligent equipment necessary to support the "smart grid" electric system of the future.

The architecture will provide a foundation for open, systems-based communications and distributed computing to enable "intelligent" delivery of electric power and connect consumers with energy markets. The system architecture development will build upon a variety of industry infrastructure development activities that are in progress.

"This is a major undertaking," said E2I's CEO, T.J. Glauthier. "We envision an open, standards-based electric system that takes advantage of extremely sophisticated communications and computing technologies to provide innovative customer communications and services, greater system reliability, higher power quality and better security against disruptive events. The current electric system is based on 1950s technology and needs to be brought into the twenty-first century. GE Global Research and its excellent team bring the broad range of expertise and experience required for this project."

The system architecture will include a data communications infrastructure that links energy users to markets and enables a self-healing grid, real-time pricing, customer energy management, and innovative energy services. Glauthier noted that the new infrastructure will support the integration of technologies that have been in development for years, such as advanced metering, power quality monitoring, and two-way communications between utilities, customers and third parties. Project results will be made available to key standards organizations for use in developing robust infrastructure specifications.

"GE Global Research has a long history of innovation in the energy and related information technology industries," said Sanjay Correa, leader of Energy and Propulsion Technologies at GE Global Research. "We are looking forward to working together with the CEIDS partners, industry participants, government agencies and societal stakeholders to help define the functional needs for the power grid of the future."

Other members of the team include Lucent Technologies, Systems Integration Specialists, Co. (SISCO) the University of Wisconsin, Electrotek Concepts, Inc., and Utility Consulting International.

The project is part of the Consortium for Electric Infrastructure to Support a Digital Society (CEIDS), a collaborative research initiative of E2I. CEIDS' mission is to provide the science and technology that will power a digital economy and integrate energy users and markets through a unique collaboration of public, private and governmental stakeholders. Members of CEIDS include Alliant Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Electricite de France, Exelon, the Long Island Power Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Salt River Project, TXU, We Energies and Cisco Systems.

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E2I, an affiliate of EPRI, is a nonprofit organization that conducts strategic breakthrough research and development in energy-related science and technology. Bringing together public and private resources, E2I directs and supports science and technology innovation in electricity supply, delivery, and utilization to address the needs of the twenty-first century economy.

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GE Global Research is one of the world's most diversified industrial research labs, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses (NYSE: GE). Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India, Shanghai, China and Munich, Germany.

Visit the GE Global Research Website

Technical Articles - index of technical articles related to GENI's vision. Includes: articles written by GENI and about GENI concerning the proof of concept and some industry reports relating to the GENI vision