The smart grid may be getting a little closer. A Consortium for Smart Energy Profile 2.0 (SEP 2) Interoperability was recently incorporated to test smart grid products to ensure interoperability.
CSEP, as it is called, will create and maintain a certification test suite to validate interoperability for a variety of wired or wireless devices include thermostats, appliances, electric meters, gateways, electric vehicles and countless other devices that will eventually be connected to the smart grid. The consortium is made up of the HomePlug Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance and ZigBee Alliance. Membership is open to eligible organizations with a business interest in SEP 2.
SEP 2 adds Internet Protocol (IP) capability, which is lacking in SEP 1.0 and 1.1. This opens the way for home energy management networks to receive data form the smart grid. It also supports plug-in electric vehicle charging. SEP 2 is still being finalized as an IEEE standard (802.15.4 family) under the ZigBee Smart Energy Working Group, and should be buttoned up by the end of this year.
“The consortium is creating the test tools and using a common test platform to give consumers and stakeholders at all levels a good degree of confidence that everything will work together and an expectation that products will be working together,” says HomePlug president, Rob Ranck. “We expect test tools to be available on a wide level, so test specs will also be available for utility companies and others.”
The Consortium says recent Plugfests have tested the interoperability of products built using either HomePlug, Wi-Fi or ZigBee communications. Green Phy, a low bit-rate version of the HomePlug powerline technology designed for smart grid and energy management connectivity, has been adopted by seven major car companies for communicating between electric vehicles (EVs) and EV chargers.
Ranck wouldn’t say that SEP 2 is the missing link to the smart grid. After all, utilities have gone slow and conservative on their smart grid pilots and trials largely out of caution (and because they’re so-o-o conservative and risk-averse). But IP capability can certainly clear the way to effective home energy management networks that are tied to the grid. Or so we hope.
You may also like: