Three phase plan proposed for smart grid standards in the U.S.


Patrick Gallagher,
Deputy Director,
Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 21, 2009 – The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a three phase plan to expedite the development of key standards for the smart grid.

The first phase of the plan will be to further engage utilities, equipment suppliers, consumers, standards developers and other stakeholders to achieve consensus on smart grid standards. By early fall, the process will deliver the smart grid architecture, priorities for interoperability and cyber security standards, and an initial set of standards to support implementation, and plans to meet the remaining standards needs.

Thereafter the second and third phases will be initiated, to launch a formal partnership to facilitate development of additional standards to address remaining gaps and integrate new technologies, and to develop a plan for testing and certification to ensure that smart grid equipment and systems conform to standards for security and interoperability. Both of these will be completed by the end of the year.

“The smart grid will create green jobs and stand as a cornerstone of the national effort to achieve energy independence and curb the emissions changing our climate,” said NIST deputy director Patrick Gallagher. “We are working with a sense of urgency to expedite the development of standards critical to ensuring a reliable and robust smart grid.”

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 the NIST was charged with coordinating the development of protocols and standards for smart grid devices and systems. The NIST will combine part of its own appropriation from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) with $10 million from the Department of Energy’s ARRA appropriation to carry out these responsibilities.

Last week plans were announced by commerce secretary Gary Locke for a smart grid meeting in early May in Washington, DC to be chaired by Locke and energy secretary Steven Chu (see Funding plans for U.S. stimulus plan smart grid initiatives outlined). The event will bring together leaders from key stakeholders’ organizations to begin critical discussion on developing industry-wide standards for the smart grid. Additionally, the participants will be expected to pledge to harmonize industry standards critical to developing the smart grid, commit to a timetable to reach a standards agreement, and abide by the standards devised.

Additional meetings of industry staff on May 19-20 are planned to make further progress on a standards agreement.

George Arnold, deputy director of the NIST’s Technology Services unit and formerly a vice-president at Bell Laboratories, has been appointed to lead and coordinate the Institute’s smart grid efforts. Arnold previously served as chairman of the board of the American National Standards Institute, a private, nonprofit organization that coordinates voluntary U.S. standardization and conformity assessment activities.