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Industry News
NEMA Awarded Commerce Grant To Develop North American Smart Grid
October 26, 2009

The U.S. Department of Commerce Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) has awarded the National Electrical Manufacturers Association a financial assistance award to support NEMA’s efforts to coordinate the development of Smart Grid standards and technology in Canada and Mexico with those in the United States.

The new program, known as the Development of a Secure, Robust, and Reliable North American Smart Electrical Grid, will bring together development teams from the three North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trading partners to ensure that Smart Grid development proceeds in a structured and compatible manner.

NEMA participates in the advancement of Smart Grid through its support for incorporating demand response and advanced technologies to allow monitoring, analysis, control, and communication capabilities in the national electric grid to improve reliability, optimize asset utilization, improve cyber security, increase energy efficiency, and allow diverse generation and storage options.

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, MDCP efforts will focus on educational outreach on investment and tax policies to favor companies’ adoption of Smart Grid products, expanding the market through the development of interoperability standards, and supporting utility investment in Smart Grid products and systems.

“We believe that our proposal nicely complements the major effort undertaken by the U.S. government investment in Smart Grid, which was given a major boost by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” Gaddis said.

Mary Saunders, acting assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing and services, stated, "The Commerce Department is pleased to partner with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association to coordinate the adoption of Smart Grid technologies with Canada and Mexico. This public-private partnership supports the Administration's priorities regarding the development of Smart Grid interoperability standards and the incorporation of Smart Grid technologies into power distribution systems."

According to Gene Eckhart, NEMA director of international trade, this award reflects the fact that everything NEMA does—proactive or reactive—has international consequences.

“This initiative involving Smart Grid within the context of NAFTA is just part of the overall trend that every initiative NEMA pursues on behalf of its members has international implications. Smart Grid is only one. It is inevitable that it will spill over to other initiatives. Ultimately, this works to our members’ business advantage,” he said.

NEMA is the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end use of electricity. These products are used in utility, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. The association’s Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) Division represents manufacturers of cutting-edge medical diagnostic imaging equipment including MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound products. Worldwide sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing and Mexico City.

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