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Smart Grid Interoperability Panel transitioning to self-financed legal entity


July 11, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

July 10, 2012 – John McDonald, chair of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) governing board, will publish a letter in tomorrow morning’s SGIP News newsletter explaining that, at its meeting earlier today in Portland, Ore., the SGIP board voted to support a business sustainment plan that will guide SGIP’s transition from a federally funded, public-private partnership to a self-financed legal entity that retains a working partnership with government.

“This transition, which has been envisioned since the creation of the SGIP in 2009, is beginning this week at our face-to-face meeting in Portland, and will gain momentum over the next six months. With your engagement and support, we look forward to an official launch of the new organization in January 2013,” says McDonald.

The new organization is informally being called ‘SGIP 2.0’, but its mission remains unchanged… “to provide a strong framework for coordination of all stakeholders of the smart grid to accelerate standards harmonization and development”.

The partnership between SGIP and NIST (the U.S. National Institute of Standards & Technology) will continue, with the latter actively participating in—and providing funding support—for SGIP 2.0.

“Although the mission, principles, and primary responsibilities of the SGIP have been preserved as we move to the SGIP 2.0 structure, you will see a number of important changes related to legal structure, revenue sources, membership dues and management structure,” continues McDonald.

One of those changes is SGIP 2.0 being a tax-exempt, not-for-profit membership organization. SGIP currently has no formal legal structure, so it cannot enter into contracts or raise revenue.

To provide the financial resources, SGIP 2.0 will rely on three primary sources of revenue: membership dues; sponsorships; and grants from government, endowments and foundations.

Starting in January 2013, membership in SGIP will require the payment of dues by member organizations. The dues structure includes two categories—participating members and observing members—with two levels of privileges. The dues are calculated on a tiered basis that takes into account the types and sizes of different organizations.

Day-to-day leadership and management of SGIP 2.0 will be provided by a dedicated executive director under the supervision and guidance of the SGIP 2.0 board of directors. He will also select and manage both a small full-time staff and a larger set of outsourced resources.

“Today’s governing board action, while important as a milestone, is only the beginning of the next stage of the transition and implementation process. The plan that we’ve endorsed today outlines a number of key areas where additional decisions must be made in the coming months. Your active participation is both warmly welcomed and strongly encouraged. We have the opportunity—and the obligation—to work together to shape the standards that will ensure interoperability in the smart grid,” concludes McDonald.