Framework and roadmap for U.S. smart grid interoperability standards released


George Arnold,
National Coordinator
for Smart Grid
Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 25, 2009 – The framework and roadmap for smart grid interoperability standards Release 1.0, providing an accelerated plan for developing smart grid standards in the United States, has been released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Based on input from more than 1,500 industry, government and other stakeholders, including three public workshops (see U.S. smart grid cyber security and priority action plans identified), the document identifies a basic set 77 initial standards that will enable the vast number of interconnected devices and systems that will make up the smart grid to communicate and work with each other. These standards will support interoperability of all the various pieces of the system-ranging from large utility companies down to individual homes and electronic devices.

The report also lists a set of 14 “priority action plans”, out of a total of about 70 gaps and issues that have been identified, in which standards development is being prioritized. One of these, smart meter upgradeability, has been completed.

A common scheduling mechanism for energy transactions is due by year-end 2009. Standards for demand response signals and energy use information are due in January 2010 and a common specification for price and product definition is also due early in 2010. These will be followed in mid-2010 with standards for time synchronization, and guidelines for the use of IP protocol suite in the smart grid, the use of wireless communications in the smart grid, and for electric storage interconnection.

Others due by the end of 2010 are a common information model for distribution grid management, IEC 61850 objects/DNP3 mapping, transmission and distribution power systems models mapping, interoperability standards to support plug-in electric vehicles, and standard meter data profiles.

Given that ensuring cyber security of the smart grid is a critical priority, the report says this requires that security be designed in at the architectural level. A special task group is leading the development of a cyber security strategy and requirements for the smart grid, and is due to report the results of its work to date soon. The security concerns around advanced metering infrastructure as a key part of the smart grid are being addressed in a separate collaborative effort, which is reporting separately.

George Arnold, NIST’s national coordinator for smart grid interoperability, commented that finalizing the standards will ensure that the grid transformation goes both smoothly and rapidly.

“Because of the urgent need to remake the grid into a modern power distribution system, we have set a timetable that is much swifter than usual for establishing these standards,” said Arnold. “But at the same time, we also want to be certain that the initial standards we establish will hold up in the future so that investments in the smart grid will not become prematurely obsolete.”

The draft document will be posted for a 30-day period of public comment. Thereafter the document will be finalized by the NIST, also bringing to completion the first phase of the organization’s three-phase plan to develop the smart grid standards.

Phase 2 will establish a Smart Grid Interoperability Panel to drive the longer term progress. The NIST is using ARRA funds to establish the panel by the end of 2009. Phase 3 will develop and implement a framework for testing and certification of how standards are implemented in smart grid devices, systems and processes. The NIST is consulting with industry, government and other stakeholders to develop a plan for a testing and certification framework by the end of 2009 and take steps toward implementation in 2010.

The results of the NIST’s ongoing work on standards for the smart grid also provides input to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act is charged with instituting, once sufficient consensus is achieved, rulemaking proceedings to adopt 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.