Although the benefits of interoperable systems are well known and have been discussed, pursued, and implemented for years across several industries, the electric power industry is only now beginning to realize their potential benefits. Lower costs per transaction, increased operating efficiency, higher quality of service, and access to new markets through competitive innovation are just some of the benefits that peer industries have recognized.
The Energy industry is still confused about the real benefits of interoperability to businesses and their customers. Much of the writing on the subject tells only bits and pieces of what is a complex story. This paper examines the impact interoperability will have on the emergent smart grid—its key elements, financial and economic benefits, and the requirements for success.
While the financial benefits of interoperability are not easily quantifiable, they are real and clear. Just as important are the non-financial benefits that will accrue from interoperability; both utilities and customers will obtain greater control over their energy management and the information generated from connectivity. The time is now to update our energy infrastructure and create a 21st Century smart grid.