NIST Publishes Smart Grid Phase One Report

E-mail Melanie Martella

Last year, NIST published a draft report on the first of its three phases for the Smart Grid project, that epic endeavor to update the U.S. electrical infrastructure. Phase One involves the generation of a high-level conceptual reference model for the project, identifying existing standards we can use, standards we need but don't have, areas where multiple existing standards need to be harmonized, and a plethora of other standards, interoperability, and general project structure issues.

After input from the stakeholders and the public, including public review of the draft, NIST has just published the final report, NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Release 1.0 (PDF). In this report, NIST lists eight priority areas: Demand response and consumer energy efficiency, wide-area situational awareness, energy storage, electric transportation, advanced metering infrastructure, distribution grid management, cyber security, and network communications. It also identifies 25 standards to use (including IP-based protocols, OPC-UA, BACnet, LON, and ZigBee/HAN), with a further 50 identified for further study (which group includes SP100, GPS, SOAP, Z-Wave, and the 802.xx family of standards). The discussions of the various priority areas, elaborating on what's required for a successful Smart Grid, are extremely educational because Smart Grid must incorporate elements for so many different entities, from the utilities down to householders; even if you're familiar with some segments of the project, you may be less informed about the issues that relate to the needs of other stakeholders. And, fundamentally, Smart Grid has to work for everyone involved.

Phase II, launched in November 2009, focuses on the organization and consensus process currently being formalized under the newly formed Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). NIST wants to create an ongoing built-in standards process because the Smart Grid is going to be a work in progress—it's too complex not to be—and that's the purpose of the SGIP.

Phase III, scheduled for 2010, will focus on conformity testing and certification. With the many deadlines for deliverables that are slated for this year, 2010 should be a very interesting time for Smart Grid technologies and the companies that champion and use them.

For those of you working to bring the Smart Grid into being, how do you think it's going?