FERC proposes policy and action plan to accelerate smart grid development in U.S.


Jon Wellinghoff,
Chairman, FERC
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 20, 2009 – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has sought to accelerate the development of a smart grid in the United States with a proposed policy statement and action plan focused on the development of key standards for interoperability of smart grid devices and systems and an interim rate policy for smart grid investments before the standards are developed.

The proposed policy statement seeks public comment on standards for four priority issues critical to the smooth functioning and operation of the smart grid. These are cyber security, inter-system communications, wide area situational awareness, and coordination of the bulk power systems with new and emerging technologies.

In terms of cyber security the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be advised to assure each standard and protocol is consistent with the overarching cyber security and reliability requirements of EISA and FERC Reliability Standards.

Standards will be identified for common information models for communication among all elements of the bulk power system, including regional market operators, utilities, demand response aggregators and customers.

Operators of the nation’s bulk power system must be ensured they have the equipment that gives them a complete view of their systems so they can monitor and operate their systems.

In addition standards development will be identified that would help accommodate the introduction and expansion of renewable resources, demand response and electricity storage to help address several bulk power system challenges, as well as electric transportation.

FERC also proposes that utilities may seek to recover the costs of smart grid deployments that demonstrate system security and compliance with FERC-approved reliability standards, as well as the ability to be upgraded among other criteria.

“A smarter bulk power system, and the generation and demand resources associated with it, will operate more securely, reliably and efficiently,” said acting FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff. “The Commission is issuing this proposed policy statement to prioritize and accelerate development of key interoperability standards that are needed to unlock the potential benefits of the smart grid.

The proposed policy statement and action plan are open for comment for 45 days.