Smart grid standards challenges remain, report finds


Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 23, 2012 – The introduction of smart grid interoperability standards has the potential to transform the electric industry and the fundamental electric utility business model, but there are challenges in the short, mid and long terms, according to a new report.

The report, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Smart Grid Advisory Committee (SGAC), says that the Committee has identified several common emerging themes across the smart grid stakeholder landscape. In the short to mid-term, these include prioritizing, streamlining and leveraging the smart grid activities of NIST, given the shortage of resources to participate in these activities, and the urgent need for a communication plan and an education and outreach effort for utilities and regulators to enhance their understanding of the smart grid and interoperability standards.

In the longer term, as the smart grid evolves NIST will need to develop greater expertise in the technological and administrative functions necessary to support the smart grid. There will also be a need for interagency collaboration, for example between NIST and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to define the federal response to national cyber emergencies.

The SGAC was established in September 2010, with representatives from U.S. industry, academia, and trade and professional organizations to advise NIST on smart grid standards, priorities and gaps, and on the overall direction, status and health of smart grid implementation by the industry.

The report, the SGAC’s first, is based on interviews with smart grid industry stakeholders, including industry associations, companies, and state and federal regulators, and was adopted in November 2011.

In addition to the direction and status of smart grid implementation, the SGAC also reviewed NIST’s smart grid research activities. Among the findings are that NIST should be a facilitator of multi”stakeholder smart grid research collaboration, and it should invite and promote strong collaboration with utilities and the private sector on research into metrics for interoperability, cybersecurity, and other properties of the smart grid. NIST also should conduct research to determine the metrology requirements for smart grid devices.

The SGAC is chaired by Dan Sheflin, chief technology officer at Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions, with David Owens, executive vice president of Business Operations at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) as vice chair.