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Making The Electric Grid Better
The electric grid is amazing. Those wires running down the
street or underground in your neighborhood are responsible
for delivering more than $350 billion in electricity sales in the
U.S. each year.
It’s also operated mainly by hardware, telecommunications
and software platforms that don’t talk to each other – perhaps
making it more expensive to run than it should be. Just like a
laptop can operate with devices interchangeably, the electrical
grid of the future needs to be able to exchange data with
different devices from many manufacturers. Duke Energy is
leading an effort to make that happen, which should help
control costs and improve reliability.
Two years ago, Jason Handley and Stuart Laval from our
Emerging Technology Office recruited a small group of
companies to form the Coalition of the Willing. Its mission was
to prove that multiple companies could work together on grid
technology that didn’t depend on the proprietary protocols.
Adopting open standards sounds easy, but many companies
were reluctant at first to participate. However, after
showcasing a “proof of concept” design at a large industry
conference in 2014, interest in the effort has picked up.
Today, more than 25 major manufacturers have joined the
coalition. There’s still plenty of work to do. But the end result
could be an electric grid that is simpler to operate, less costly
and a better value for customers.