• How can I be part of modernizing the U.S. electric grid? Become part the GridWise movement and attend GridWeek in Washington.

  • What is GridWise™? The GridWiseAlliance (http://gridwise.org/) is a consortium of public and private stakeholders who are aligned around a shared vision. A vision of an electric system that integrates the infrastructure, processes, devices, information, and market structure so that energy can be generated, distributed, and consumed more efficiently and cost-effectively - thereby achieving a more resilient, secure, and reliable energy system.

  • What is GridWeek? GridWeek, (www.GridWeek.com) is a four-day gathering of grid modernization stakeholders in Washington. GridWeek provides the opportunity for a variety of organizations focused on grid modernization to hold private meetings and participate in collaborative sessions that include leading speakers on grid modernization activities.

  • What does any of this have to do with building automation? A smart information network - the Internet - for the electric grid is seen as necessary to manage and automate this new world. GridWeek is focused on this vision.

The Skinny On GridWeek

Anto Budiardjo, president and CEO of Clasma Events, Inc. recently sat down with AutomatedBuildings.com to talk about GridWeek.

Sinclair: Who is involved with GridWeek?
Budiardjo: Apart from the DOE as a major sponsor, we have a few dozen trade and technology groups including GridWise, IntelliGrid, GridApp, FERC, NERC, and others. We are also working with key commercial sponsors including IBM, SAIC, GE, GridPoint, Tridium, and again, many more to come.
Sinclair: How about speakers?
Budiardjo: We have the U.S. Secretary of Energy delivering the keynote at the “State of the Grid” Plenary at GridWeek in addition to a number of Senators and members of Congress speaking. We also have many top-level executives from utility companies, technology providers, federal and state regulators, and industry leaders in the area of grid modernization.
Sinclair: How does this affect the building industry?
Budiardjo: There is a major link to buildings, which, as you know, consume over half of the electricity in the U.S. Hot topics to be discussed at GridWeek include demand response, real-time pricing, alternative energy, and distributed generation. Many of the solutions to the shortfall in electricity will come down to reducing demand especially at peak load times, and much of this will happen in buildings through building automation. These include the creation of the intelligent grid: an information system overlaid on the electricity grid to automate the supply and demand of electricity and to curtail the peak demands of electricity.
Sinclair: What are the challenges that GridWeek hopes to address?
Budiardjo: One of the major challenges is that the regulatory framework in existence today does not facilitate a smart grid; this is a combination of federal and state issues. Holding GridWeek in Washington will address this by highlighting these issues and the possible technology solutions, to a Washington audience of Congress and state regulators.
Sinclair: In what way is this an opportunity for BAS players?
Budiardjo: There have been a number of articles on your site about Net Zero energy and demand response. Basically utility companies, unable to build enough power stations, will look to curtail demand from electricity consumers. Utility companies are handing out hard cash to do this, real hard cash for reduction of electricity in buildings. This is an opportunity directly solvable by BAS players.

Modernizing The Grid

Another article on the AutomatedBuildings.com website titled “Modernizing the Grid,” by Richard Munson, executive director of the Northeast-Midwest Institute, states “Utilities have not improved their delivered efficiency in some 50 years. With stagnant efficiency at 33% percent, we essentially burn three lumps of fuel to generate one lump of electricity. Put another way, two-thirds of the fuel burned to generate power is wasted.
“Consider that only 20 years ago, the share of the nation’s electrical load from sensitive electronic equipment - such as computerized systems, appliances and automated manufacturing - was limited. In the 1990s, that share grew to roughly 10%. Today, the load from chip technologies and automated manufacturing is 40%, and it is expected to grow to more than 60% by 2015.
“The Department of Energy has stated that the nation’s aging electro-mechanical electric grid cannot keep pace with innovations in the digital information and telecommunications network. We need, says DOE, an electric superhighway to support our information superhighway. Even more critically, if we are to enjoy the benefits of information and telecommunications innovation, we need an innovative electricity system.” As you can see, GridWise is a  great opportunity for our industry.