FERC lays out priorities for Smart Grid standards

The commission says standards need to focus on cybersecurity

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has said that standards being developed for the country’s smart grid should put a priority on cybersecurity and systems monitoring.

FERC's July 16 policy statement, which is meant to guide industry as it develops standards for interoperability and functionality of smart-grid systems and devices, also encouraged the coordinated integration of emerging technologies such as renewable resources.

The development of the smart grid – an information technology-enabled, next-generation power distribution system – is a priority of the Obama administration. FERC’s jurisdiction over smart-grid standards comes from the Federal Power Act and more recently, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

The EISA law gave the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) the main responsibility for working with industry to develop a framework of standards and protocols to ensure the interoperability and security for the grid. However, the law states the final standards need to be approved by FERC, which has regulatory authority over the interstate industry.

"The policy statement provides important guidance to focus and expedite ongoing industry efforts to develop interoperability standards – this will enable entrepreneurs to deploy new market based technologies to improve efficiency and reliability,” Marc Spitzer, a FERC commissioner, said in a statement.

NIST has a three-phased program to develop key technical standards for the smart grid. Meanwhile, FERC said in its policy statement that the process of developing smart-grid standards should focus on:
  • Cybersecurity and physical security.
  • Communicating and coordinating across inter-system interfaces.
  • Wide-area situational awareness.
  • Smart grid-enabled response for energy demand.
  • Electric storage.
  • Electric vehicle transportation.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • People
    Federal CIO Suzette Kent

    Federal CIO Kent to exit in July

    During her tenure, Suzette Kent pushed on policies including Trusted Internet Connection, identity management and the creation of the Chief Data Officers Council

  • Defense
    Essye Miller, Director at Defense Information Management, speaks during the Breaking the Gender Barrier panel at the Air Space, Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 19, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Chad Trujillo)

    Essye Miller: The exit interview

    Essye Miller, DOD's outgoing principal deputy CIO, talks about COVID, the state of the tech workforce and the hard conversations DOD has to have to prepare personnel for the future.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.