Smart Grids Gaining Momentum?

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on May 18 significant progress that should help expedite development of a nationwide “smart” electric power grid.

The giant task of developing smart grid standards is underway.
The giant task of developing smart grid standards is underway.

A Smart Grid would replace the current, outdated system and employ real-time, two-way communication technologies to allow users to connect directly with power suppliers. Before it can be constructed, however, there needs to be agreement on standards for the devices that will connect the grid.

Read TFM‘s May 2009 coverage of smart grid development, “Getting Smart With Energy”.

After chairing a meeting of industry leaders at the White House, Locke and Chu announced the first set of standards that are needed for the interoperability and security of the Smart Grid and $10 million in Recovery Act funds provided by the Energy Department to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the development of interoperability standards.

Secretary Chu also announced that based on feedback from the public and Smart Grid stakeholders, the Department of Energy (DOE) is increasing the maximum award available under the Recovery Act for Smart Grid programs. The maximum award available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will be increased from $20 million to $200 million and for the Smart Grid Demonstration Projects from $40 million to $100 million. In making awards, DOE will ensure that funding is provided to a diversity of applications, including small projects as well as end-to-end larger projects.

“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,” Secretary Locke said. “Today, we took a significant step toward developing the open and transparent interoperability standards necessary to realize the Smart Grid vision.”

“The Smart Grid is an urgent national priority that requires all levels of government as well as industry to cooperate,” Secretary Chu said. “I’m pleased that industry leaders stepped forward today and are working with us to get consensus. We still have much to do, but the ultimate result will be a much more efficient, flexible power grid and the opportunity to dramatically increase our use of renewable energy.”

The May 18 meeting was designed to encourage industry executives to work to expedite the adoption of standards in advance of a major two-day, public standards workshop the next day in Washington, DC.

The initial batch of 16 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognized interoperability standards that have been announced are designed to help ensure that software and hardware components from different vendors will work together seamlessly, while securing the grid against disruptions. Spanning areas ranging from smart customer meters to distributed power generation components to cybersecurity, the list of standards is based on the consensus expressed by participants in the first public Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Interim Roadmap workshop, held April 28-29 in Reston, VA.

The Energy Department also announced that the $10 million it received to support the development of interoperability standards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been provided to NIST to help accelerate their efforts to coordinate these standards.

Initial Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework, Release 1.0

The initial set of Smart Grid interoperability standards will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days with the 30 day comment period to follow. Publication of the standards in the Register will be announced on the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Project Web site. Comments may be submitted to

Standard — Application

  • AMI-SEC System Security Requirements — Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and Smart Grid end-to-end security
  • ANSI C12.19/MC1219 — Revenue metering information model
  • BACnet ANSI ASHRAE 135-2008/ISO 16484-5 — Building automation
  • DNP3 — Substation and feeder device automation
  • IEC 60870-6 / TASE.2 — Inter-control center communications
  • IEC 61850 — Substation automation and protection
  • IEC 61968/61970 — Application level energy management system interfaces
  • IEC 62351 Parts 1-8 — Information security for power system control operations
  • IEEE C37.118 — Phasor measurement unit (PMU) communications
  • IEEE 1547 — Physical and electrical interconnections between utility and distributed generation (DG)
  • IEEE 1686-2007 — Security for intelligent electronic devices (IEDs)
  • NERC CIP 002-009 — Cyber security standards for the bulk power system
  • NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-53, NIST SP 800-82 — Cyber security standards and guidelines for federal information systems, including those for the bulk power system
  • Open Automated Demand Response (Open ADR) — Price responsive and direct load control
  • OpenHAN — Home Area Network device communication, measurement, and control
  • ZigBee/HomePlug Smart Energy Profile — Home Area Network (HAN) Device Communications and Information Model