NEMA defines electric supply chain intelligence; urges economic help

Rosslyn, VA — National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has introduced a concept to define levels of intelligence in electricity supply chains. NEMA also promotes passage of a U.S. economic stimulous package.

By Control Engineering Staff February 6, 2008

Rosslyn, VA

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

introduced a concept to define levels of intelligence in electricity supply chains. The

NEMA Smart Grid

, in which a chain, beginning with power generation and ending with ultimate use of the power, could automatically correlate fluctuating demand and supply of electricity nationwide by exchanging information from power plants to substations to homes. NEMA also praised and promotes passage of a U.S. economic stimulous package.

In a smart grid, levels of intelligence range from “dumb” appliances (level 0), such as old water heaters that maintain constant water temperature, to level 5, where power suppliers and systems share supply-and-demand information across a continent. The concept will enable electricity producers to anticipate peak load times and ensure that power is delivered as needed based on fluctuating demand; such as delivering more power to a downtown area during the day and cutting available power to the area at night. There is no large-scale storage capacity for electricity and supply and demand needs to be balanced.

The proposal was introduced on behalf of the NEMA Emerging Technologies Panel by Dr. Le Tang of ABB during a Webinar for NEMA members on Jan. 18. Tang introduced a NEMA white paper, Standardizing the Classification of Intelligence Levels and Performance of Electricity Supply Chains, which proposes a framework for quantifying and categorizing the “intelligence” of electrical equipment based on the equipment’s ability to communicate, compute, sense and react, take independent actions, and adapt.

NEMA, seeking support of the concept from public and private stakeholders, was named in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 as a participant in efforts by the

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

to create a system to enhance the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of the electricity grid.

In other news, NEMA has appealed to Congress and the Bush Administration to quickly pass an economic stimulus package quickly to help forestall an economic downturn. In a January 18 letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California.), NEMA president and CEO Evan R. Gaddis called for consideration of provisions to promote increased business investment, construction, and associated job and employment growth, which would result in significant energy savings. He recommended accelerated depreciation in equipment and machinery investment, including energy-efficient technologies, plus an extension of the commercial-building tax deduction (IRS

Extension of the deduction would impact the declining housing market, ensuring continuation of building renovation and new construction projects. “Without the certainty of an extension, building renovations and retrofitting will be slow, if not come to an end,” said Gaddis. “Without the extension, energy-efficient benefits related to renovation work will be lost, contributing to greater use of energy and associated negative environment side effects.”

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