FCC gets serious about smart grids

While it has pretty much kept out of the smart grid fray, it looks like the FCC is now making its move, as it recently hired former venture capitalist Nick Sinai of Polaris Ventures as Energy and Environmental Director. Sinai is being tasked with heading a team that he said "will examine how broadband/communications infrastructure and policies can support our national energy and environmental goals, with an emphasis on the Smart Grid." The idea is not completely far-fetched as Qwest Communications, for example, is providing DSL-based backhaul network services to Xcel Energy in Boulder, Colo.

Thus far, the loudest proponents for Smart Grid have been the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the IEEE , which jointly have been vocal proponents of smart grids with the launch of their Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Project P2030. Still, the FCC's influence can't be understated. Not only will the agency develop rules and regulations for utility companies leveraging wireless spectrum and broadband access technologies, but it also is crafting a National Broadband Task Force that is analyzing the state of broadband in the U.S.

One of Sinai's first tasks in his new role will be to hold a workshop that will look at how broadband technology will enhance smart grid rollouts. It appears at this point that the FCC's actual plans are still a work in progress. "Right now we are gathering data and information from experts that will help us develop a plan regarding broadband's role in energy, so we'll be able to better answer that question in a few months," Sinai said in the earth2tech article.

For more:
- earth2tech has this article

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