Monday, March 30, 2009
The Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has taken control of a tool developed by IBM that could save utilities millions of dollars while improving the nations power grid. The “Smart Grid Maturity Model” is a tool that combines and assess efforts by electric companies that have undertaken efforts to upgrade to smart grid technologies. From that data, it creates a model that other utilities can use to make sure they go about the process in the most efficient way possible. The electricity grid has been described as the “largest and most complex machine in the world.” Experts say it is now critically overburdened. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if the North American grid were 5% more efficient, the energy savings would equate to eliminating the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars. The Smart Grid Maturity Model will serve as a strategic framework for utilities, vendors, regulators, and consumers that have a role in smart grid transformation -- from technological to regulatory to organizational. SEI has been building and operating efficiency models since the 80’s. Deputy Director Bill Wilson says they have not had a chance to play with the model yet. He says the first step will be to evaluate the model, determine what information is and is not relevant and then talk to industry stakeholders about their experiences and needs. Paul Nielsen, CEO and director of the SEI says, "The Smart Grid Maturity Model developed by IBM creates a roadmap of activities, investments, and best practices that leads to creating a smart grid. Utilities using the model will be able to establish the appropriate development path, communicate the strategy and vision, and assess current opportunities."