Federal Communications Commission

Smart Grid Updates

October 12th, 2010 by Nick Sinai - Energy and Environment Director

 By Nick Sinai and Tom Brown


It’s exciting to see the National Broadband Plan being put in action. 

Last week the Department of Energy (DOE) released reports on Smart Grid communications and Smart Grid data access and privacy issues.  

These reports are the culmination of a lot of hard work over at DOE.  These are thoughtful and actionable reports that reflect a public stakeholder process – including public forums and detailed RFIs.

It’s clear that there is consensus – perhaps more than you might think – about what the federal government can do to help modernize the electric grid and enable smart home innovations.  There is also remarkable stakeholder consensus about some of the principles we outlined in the National Broadband Plan.  For example, just about every respondent noted that consumers deserve access to and control of their own energy consumption data.  Respondents also had strong consensus on the importance of privacy and security, as necessary conditions for energy management innovation in homes and buildings. 

The Smart Grid communications report also offers some practical recommendations about how to get DOE and the utility industry better involved in spectrum and reliability advisory committees.  It also suggests reviewing priority access and emergency restorations programs to see how utilities could use them better, as well as reviewing “opportunities for increased spectrum access for Smart Grid communications needs, including spectrum sharing and/or leasing.” 

We’re looking forward to working with DOE, NTIA, DHS, the utility industry, and other stakeholders on implementing these recommendations.

General Counsel Scott Harris and Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman and their teams should be commended for their important work.





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