Smart Grids are hugely complex constructions. Most electricity networks are a patchwork of analogue and digital equipment. Software and hardware have been added here and there, resulting in highly complex systems that now need to evolve to become Smart Grids. Smart Grids will be crucial to help nations address the energy challenge, integrating an increasing amount of renewable energy and making overall more efficient use of generated energy. The Smart Grid concept is simple and complex at the same time: it involves the modernization of the electric grid, building on a lot of existing infrastructure and integrating electrical and information technologies between any point of generation and any point of consumption.
Over the past several years Richard Schomberg, currently Group Vice-President Smart Energy Standards at EDF (Electricité de France) has been instrumental in building the IEC’s Smart Grid capabilities. In 2009 he brought together world-leading Smart Grid experts into SMB (Standardization Management Board) SG (Strategic Group) 3 on Smart Grid. Their first work resulted in a framework and roadmap that have since served as the blueprint for most of the Smart Grid roadmaps that are currently in use around the world.
Users in mind
Having managed numerous complex Smart Grid projects himself, Schomberg is intimately familiar with the needs of Smart Grid project managers and this is continuously reflected in all the projects he initiates. Schomberg strongly feels that the standard user is today both the most important and the weakest link in the chain that leads to the development of efficient Smart Grids, and that in the future developing good standards will not be sufficient. If standards remain as complicated to use and understand as they are today, then this will delay the expansion of Smart Grids.
This reflection has led to development of the online IEC Smart Grid Mapping Solution, which has the ambitious goal of making Smart Grid standards easy to use. Ultimately the platform is to provide a “one-stop shop” for the standards of all relevant standardization bodies, not just those of the IEC. Manufacturers, designers and distributors will be able not only to find in a single database all Smart Grid related standards that apply to their projects but also to obtain guidance on how best to use them.
Pioneering the systems approach
Under Schomberg’s chairmanship and with the help of Smart Grid experts from around the world, the IEC is truly taking charge of global interoperability in setting International Standards for the Smart Grid. SG3 has pioneered the systems approach in the IEC, holding the light for many other technical fields to follow. Schomberg has gone forward in a successful mission where there have been no prior efforts like it, and no trails to follow. He is a tireless spokesman for the work of the IEC and SG3, reaching out to many consortia, trade groups and Smart Grid initiatives around the world.
For his valued leadership in this critical area, the management of innovation with Technical and National Committees, and his on-going dedication and support of the IEC mission, Richard Schomberg has been awarded the highest distinction of the IEC – the Lord Kelvin Award 2011.
Lord Kelvin Award
The Lord Kelvin Award was created in 1995 and named after the IEC’s distinguished first President, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, one of the most brilliant minds of the 19th century. Kelvin was an incessant inventor and, through his mathematical genius, significantly contributed to the advancement of modern physics and science as well as the understanding and practical application of electrotechnology. IEC experts who receive the Lord Kelvin Award have the same drive to understand and improve the practical applications of the millions of electrical and electronic devices that are part of our lives.
The Lord Kelvin Award was presented to Richard Schomberg by the IEC President, Dr Klaus Wucherer, during a dinner for Presidents, Chairmen and Secretaries of National Committees and Technical Committees. In the presence of his peers, Schomberg received a solid gold medal, a gold lapel pin and a personal certificate signed by the IEC President and the General Secretary.