IBM and a group of leading utilities -- the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition -- have handed over stewardship of their Smart Grid Maturity Model to the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI). As progressive utilities around the globe modernize power grids with digital technology, executives want to know that making the grid smarter is the right thing to do and they want to know how to do it.
The electric grid is the largest and most complex machine in the world and in places it is now critically overburdened. Impacts of climate change, available technology, and the current economic crisis represent the final tipping point for a much needed overhaul. 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.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if the North American grid were just 5% more efficient, the energy savings would equate to eliminating the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars -- one of the reasons that the DoE is supporting this effort through its Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Support of the Smart Grid Maturity Model by DoE enables it to be accessible to all stakeholders of the electric power industry.
"The software development industry is a prime example of how maturity models have moved entire industries forward," said Guido Bartels, General Manager, Global Energy & Utilities Industry at IBM. "We selected SEI because of its demonstrated success in providing frameworks that enhance business and technical processes, security, resiliency and interoperability -- all critical elements in responding to opportunities driving the sustainable supply and use of energy essential today."
Part of the global research university Carnegie Mellon, the SEI operates at the leading edge of technical innovation. It serves as a national and international resource for architecture, network security, process improvement, and systems integration. The SEI has developed worldwide de facto standards, like the Capability Maturity Model(R) Integration (CMMI) and led international efforts to improve network security through its world-recognized CERT(R) program.
"We are excited to be part of this new frontier technology," said Paul Nielsen, CEO and director of the SEI. "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."
To stimulate, guide, and support efforts and investments in smart grids, the SEI will assume primary responsibility for the ongoing governance, growth and evolution of the model. In order to support widespread adoption and use, the SEI will ensure availability of the model and supporting materials and services for the user community; maintain consistency of its application, validity, and results; and analyze and provide feedback on its use, value and impact for stakeholders.
Tom Standish, group president of Regulated Operations, CenterPoint Energy, encourages every utility to participate in the Smart Grid Maturity Model survey. "It provides insights into where you are on your smart grid journey and what milestone objectives to set to achieve the benefits of smart grid -- for both customers and business," said Standish.
In addition to the SEI activities, the World Energy Council (WEC) will be a channel for global dissemination, participation and adoption of the model using its worldwide network of member committees.
IBM initially led the development of the model in collaboration with the Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition and with support from American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC). More than 40 utilities worldwide have participated in the model to date, representing 100 million customers of utilities across the globe. A key function of the Smart Grid Maturity Model tool is to gauge advancements made in Smart Grids and show returns on investments. This function allows it to be well positioned to have a role in procedures being implemented in support of the US efforts to modernize the power grid. The model offers observable indicators to measure progress, and helps facilitate the development and execution of smart grid programs.