You can’t have an energy internet without internet-like open standards, and that’s what the smart-grid industry now has. The “energy internet” refers to the...

You can’t have an energy internet without internet-like open standards, and that’s what the smart-grid industry now has.

The “energy internet” refers to the smart grid, an in-the-works electricity infrastructure in which utilities, customer meters and other devices on the power network can all “talk” with one another for maximum efficiency and trouble-shooting. As with the real internet, such a system requires that all the devices on it are compatible with the underlying network. On the internet we surf on, that’s ensured by the HTTP — for hypertext transfer protocol¬† — standard. On the coming energy internet, that will be enabled by the Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP).

The Energy Services Network Association (ESNA), a non-profit organisation made up of utilities, manufacturers and integrators, announced this week that it will publish, maintain and certify devices compatible with the Open Smart Grid Protocol. While the OSGP was pioneered by one corporation — the smart grid firm Echelon — it has become a de facto standard in the smart metering and smart grid industry. With ESNA’s announcement, OSGP will become the official European and international standard.

By adopting a standard smart-grid protocol, utilities will be able to buy “best-of-breed” products and avoid being locked in to a single vendor or technology brand.

“As the internet has clearly demonstrated, open standards are the key to building large, vibrant markets, which benefit suppliers and end users alike,” said Bob Dolin, Echelon’s chief technical officer. “Echelon has long followed a path of adopting open standards where appropriate ones exist, and working to create open standards where there are gaps. The market is demanding openness at all layers and for all devices, not just meters. OSGP provides needed control networking services for smart grid devices and creates an open playing field for innovation that is absent in the market today.”

“Standards will speed the development and deployment of the smart grid,” added Gordon Pedersen, president of ESNA and head of smart-grid projects at SEAS-NVE, the largest consumer-owned utility in Denmark. “The smart grid is about more than just smart meters. It is smart meters, smart sensors, smart switchgear and other smart equipment working together to make the grid more reliable, robust and efficient. OSGP fills a void in the market by bringing an open, field-proven, standard that addresses the needs of a broad range of smart-grid devices, and not just smart meters.”

Greenbang

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