Framework for smart grid interoperability released

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 @ 05:04 PM gHale

While a cyber initiative is vital for the smart grid, it isn’t the only factor involved.

There is now an initial list of standards, a preliminary cyber security strategy, and other elements of a framework to support transforming the nation’s aging electric power system into an interoperable smart grid, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).[private]

By integrating digital computing and communication technologies and services with the power-delivery infrastructure, the smart grid will enable bidirectional flows of energy and two-way communication and control capabilities. A range of new applications and capabilities will result. Anticipated benefits range from real-time consumer control over energy usage to significantly increased reliance on solar and other sources of clean renewable energy to greatly improve reliability, flexibility and efficiency of the entire grid.

The smart grid is a key component of the Obama administration’s energy plan.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) set development of the Smart Grid as a national policy goal, and it assigned NIST the “primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems.”

The new report presents the first release of a Smart Grid interoperability framework and roadmap for its further development. It contains:

  • A conceptual reference model to facilitate design of an architecture for the Smart Grid overall and for its networked domains;
  • An initial set of 75 standards identified as applicable to the Smart Grid;
  • Priorities for additional standards—revised or new—to resolve important gaps;
  • Action plans under which designated standards-setting organizations will address these priorities; and
  • An initial Smart Grid cyber security strategy and associated requirements.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will institute rulemaking proceedings and establish the standards and protocols necessary to ensure Smart Grid functionality and interoperability in interstate transmission of electric power and in regional and wholesale electricity markets. However, some of the standards listed in the NIST report are still under development and some others, such as those already used voluntarily by industry, may not warrant adoption by FERC or other regulators.

You can download a copy of the report at:[/private]

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