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The next generation electric grid, also known as the smart grid, is expected to be scalable, reliable, efficient, and secure, and facilitate deployment of renewable and distributed energy generation. The modern communications and networking technologies will play a vital role in the smart grid by supporting two-way energy and information flow and enabling more efficient monitoring, control, and optimization of different grid functionalities and smart power devices. The emerging field of smart grid has introduced new challenges for the communications and networking research communities. It has also created new multi-disciplinary research opportunities and potentials for collaborations among researchers in the communications, networks, signal processing, security, and power engineering areas.