NC State Represented at Smart Grid Leadership Forum

September 12, 2011

The smart grid is a long-term, long-lead strategy to mitigate and reduce the impact of electrical power disruptions.
The smart grid is a long-term, long-lead strategy to mitigate and reduce the impact of electrical power disruptions.

On Tuesday August 9, 2011, the Energy Assurance Team at the North Carolina Energy Office, with support from the Department of Energy, hosted the 2011 Smart Grid Leadership Forum.  In attendance were industry leaders, local policy-makers, and utility representatives to discuss smart grid issues relevant to North Carolina, including many from NC State.

According to the North Carolina Energy Office, "the smart grid is a long-term, long-lead strategy to mitigate and reduce the impact of electrical power disruptions."  Modernizing the electrical grid is, therefore, as much about energy efficiency and renewable energy as it is about homeland security.

The forum emphasized the need for 1) communication regarding the benefits of smart grid to the consumer, 2) workforce training on new technologies, 3) cyber security management, 4) consideration of distributed generation and storage.  Speakers included Dr. Ewan Pritchard from the FREEDM Systems Center at NC State, Brewster McCracken from Pecan Project, Inc., Steven Root from SAIC Energy Environment and Infrastructure, LLC, Patty Duran from Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative and Ivan Urlab from the NC Sustainable Energy Association.

"We wanted to bring together industry leaders, public policy makers and utility representatives to focus on the smart grid issues facing North Carolina," said Ward Lenz, director of the N.C. Energy Office.  "If the leaders across the industry, policy arena and utilities can talk to each other and build a foundation of cooperation, it will likely result in more efficient and effective smart grid deployment ."

Dr. Ewan Pritchard adds, ""While there are already a number of clear benefits to a smarter utility grid, the greatest ones are likely to be unfathomable today, much like someone in the late nineteen eighties would have been unable to fathom the key benefits and business models of the Internet then."

Members of the University Sustainability Office and  Energy Management from NC State attended the Forum to learn more about how to "futureproof" the university's electrical grid.

Paul McConocha, energy manager with Energy Management, said, "One of Energy Management's key roles is to ensure that NC State achieves energy reductions in accordance with the University Sustainability Strategic Plan.  Deploying smart grid technologies will enable Utilities and Engineering Services to create a system of connections that will help us achieve our goals."

Several speakers mentioned the opportunity for private-public partnerships on one or more large scale pilot projects in the Triangle.  Raleigh has been named the #2 Top City for Smart Grid U.S. Headquarters and #2 Top City for Smart Grid Software Development according to the Wake County Economic Development Office.  Raleigh was also named "Most Sustainable Mid Sized City" by the US Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

In March 2012 the Department of Energy will sponsor a Smart Grid Technical Forum in Charlotte, NC as a more in-depth look at smart grid technologies and implementation strategies.  For more information about the Smart Grid Technical Forum, visit the North Carolina State Energy Office website at

View the original article - Liz Bowen