ISGAN activities focus, first and foremost, on those aspects of Smart Grid where governments have regulatory authority, expertise, convening power, or other leverage. To this end, ISGAN partners work together in five principal areas: policy, standards and regulation; finance and business models; technology and systems development; user and consumer engagement; and workforce skills and knowledge. Acknowledging that network operators, manufacturing industries, business companies, research centers, academia, consumers, etc. are important stakeholders of the electricity system and likely have much to contribute to the development of ISGAN activities, they will also be engaged as appropriate. Some ISGAN activities cut across multiple areas; others focus on a single area. Preliminary descriptions of these topic areas are below.
Policy, Standards and Regulation
Effective policies and efficient regulation are critical to the development and deployment of Smart Grid technologies, practices and systems. Sharing information on policies and regulations developed by a country and associated lessons learned; harmonizing specific policies regarding developing and implementing smart grid inter-operability standards; and developing toolkits for policymakers for policy implementation at the national, sub-national and local levels may accelerate overall progress on smart grids.
Finance and Business Models.
Implementing Smart Grid technologies will likely require new business models and financing mechanisms beyond simple rate recovery. Thus, an objective is to share information and experiences on novel government and private-sector models to support deployment of smart grid systems.
Technology and Systems Development.
Cooperative research, development and demonstration of pre-competitive Smart Grid technologies using consistent methodologies and testing protocols will advance the state-of-the-art of the industry and allow for more rapid deployment of Smart Grids. Activities may include cataloguing existing RD&D efforts and coordinating laboratory or test bed networks.
User and Consumer Engagement.
The full benefits offered by smart grids will be achievable only with the involvement of stakeholders along the full spectrum of the electricity system, from power generation through power transmission and distribution, and ultimately to end-use by consumers. This area involves understanding how best to engage these many stakeholders to educate them on the purpose, benefits, and use of smart grids.
Workforce Skills and Knowledge.
Implementation of new Smart Grid technologies and approaches to energy and information will require training not only of utility and power industry personnel directly involved with electricity production, transmission, and distribution, but also regulatory staff, information technology and cyber security specialists, and others who will need deep understanding of this complex and potentially transformational suite of technologies, practices, and systems.