Gaps Filled in Smart Grid Standards

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 03:03 PM gHale

There are now 22 technical standards in the updated roadmap for smart-grid interoperability and security, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) officials said.

The Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability is part of a national effort to develop an intelligent power grid capable of supporting the two-way flow of power and information.

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NIST, through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, is working on identifying and developing the technical standards needed to ensure that utilities, manufacturers, equipment testers and regulators will all be working on the same page.

Release 2.0 of the document fills in some of the gaps for technical standards identified in the first version, released in January 2010. The original version identified 75 existing standards applicable to smart-grid development, as well as 15 high priority gaps that needed standards.

“The listed standards have undergone an extensive vetting process and are expected to stand the test of time as useful building blocks for firms producing devices and software for the Smart Grid, as well as for utilities, regulators, academia, and other Smart Grid stakeholders,” roadmap authors said.

The standards identified so far are not binding on power industry, however. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last year agreed with industry representatives the catalog of standards, especially for cyber security, was not yet complete enough to warrant mandatory adoption.

NIST began working on the roadmap in 2008. Developing a set of standards for the grid took on urgency in 2009 when $4.5 billion came available through the Energy Department in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the development of smart-grid technologies, to modernize existing infrastructure and fund demonstration and deployment programs.

NIST developed a three-phase plan to accelerate the identification of existing standards applicable to the smart grid; established a Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) of government, standards organizations and industry groups for the development of additional standards, and created a conformity testing and certification infrastructure.

The technical roadmap for the grid is under development alongside the grid infrastructure itself. ARRA investment grant projects will come to fruition in the near future. “As experience with new Smart Grid technologies is gained from these projects, NIST and the SGIP will use these lessons learned to further identify the gaps and shortcomings of the standards upon which these technologies are based,” the authors said.

The smart grid is a national priority to help create jobs, contribute to energy independence and curb greenhouse gas emissions by allowing the introduction of sustainable energy sources into the grid. It would use intelligent networking and automation to better control the flow and delivery of electricity to consumers, enabling a two-way flow of electricity and information between the power plant and the appliance, and points in between.

The roadmap identifies eight priority areas critical to ongoing and near-term deployments of smart-grid technology:
• Demand response and consumer energy efficiency
• Wide-area situational awareness
• Means of storing energy
• Electric transportation
• Network communications
• Advanced metering infrastructure
• Distribution grid management
• Cyber security

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