Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- February 14, 2013 - All smart grid equipment should be designed to ensure electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) to its intended operational environment and, in particular, immunity to electromagnetic interference, the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s (SGIP) Electromagnetic Interoperability Issues Working Group has recommended in a new white paper.

According to the white paper, Electromagnetic Compatibility and Smart Grid Interoperability Issues, EMC is an integral process needed for the design of devices that are used in the operation of the smart grid,and must be considered to ensure continuous reliable real time operation in the many locations where the smart grid equipment will operate.

Components and devices in the smart grid system are subjected to a wide range of conducted and radiated noise sources that are disruptive. However, presently, for most equipment sold in the United States there is no regulatory mandate that a manufacturer’s product meet any immunity specification as immunity is considered a quality issue. Hence immunity considerations are left to the manufacturer and the purchaser, and most products are designed to comply with specific IEEE, ANSI, or IEC standards. In other countries the situation is different, for example the countries within the European Union require products to meet the EMC Directive 2004/108/EC. In general, manufacturers address specific EMC requirements for each country or region in their intended market.

The white paper says it is important that EMC be designed into all components/devices that comprise the smart grid control system so that reliability is better assured. There is no guarantee that all smart grid devices will tolerate all such EMC environments, but without taking into consideration EMC the probability of the system failing to operate as intended increases significantly. Good EMC practices combined with the EMC design test levels recommended in the white paper and the referenced standards should be used to significantly increase the probability that the smart grid system will work and withstand the disturbances caused by the electromagnetic environment.

The white paper is one of the outcomes of two years of work by the working group and is aimed to examine EMC issues for smart grid equipment on both the electric power system delivery and the power customer sides of the smart grid meter and to summarize recommendations for EMC standards.

Looking forward the working group intends to track the development of smart grid technology and the progression of EMC standards, and to provide a forum for all the stakeholders to address possible EMC issues and recommend further standards development.