Smart grid standards released

16 standards recognized by NIST

Agencies have released the first set of standards designed to ensure that the so-called smart electric grid will be interoperable and secure.

The 16 existing standards, which have been recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cover topics such as cybersecurity for the bulk power system, guidelines for federal information systems and security for intelligent electronic devices. The Commerce Department, NIST’s parent agency, said the list is based on consensus reached by participants at a recent NIST workshop.

The initial batch of interoperability standards "will help ensure that software and hardware components from different vendors will work together seamlessly, while securing the grid against disruptions,” according to Commerce’s statement.

Once the standard are published in the Federal Register, the public will have 30 days to comment on them.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the standards today after a meeting with industry leaders at the White House. The meeting was designed to encourage industry executives to expedite adoption of the standards.

“President Obama has made a smart electrical grid a key element of his plan to lower energy costs for consumers, achieve energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Locke said. “Today, we took a significant step toward developing the standards necessary to realize the smart grid vision.”

NIST will host its second workshop on smart grid standards May 19 and 20 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. The workshop will focus on high-priority smart grid applications, demand response, electric transportation, wide-area visualization and energy storage.

In April, NIST announced a three-phase plan to develop standards for the smart grid. According to that plan, by early fall, the government expects to have a smart grid architecture, priorities for interoperability and cybersecurity standards, an initial set of standards to support implementation, and plans for meeting future standards needs.

Meanwhile, Chu said, the Energy Department is increasing the maximum grant awards for smart grid programs from $20 million to $200 million under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program and from $40 million to $100 million for smart grid demonstration projects.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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