Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- June 19, 2009 - A draft smart grid interoperability standards roadmap, identifying issues and proposing priorities for developing technical standards and an architecture for a United States smart grid, has been released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The report, which was prepared by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), defines the smart grid and sets out a conceptual model, against which key applications are reviewed. These are automated metering infrastructure, demand response, plug-in electric vehicles, cyber security, wide area situation awareness, market communications, and distributed generation and energy storage.

The greatest benefit from the smart grid will be interoperability that will open up every aspect of the generation, distribution, and use of energy to innovation, the report says. Accordingly the great challenge for smart grid interoperability, and for the standards that support it, will be to support diversity and innovation. This requires loosely coupled standards that enable shallow integration of diverse technologies. These standards will support diversity of business models through symmetry, transparency, and composition.

Security requirements are also key. As the smart grid relies on business interactions as much as it does upon the physical processes of delivering electricity, security for the smart grid must consider interference or disruption of business communications as much as it does disruption of the delivery of electricity. Matters of identity and authorization are paramount, as are privacy and appropriate access concerns for handling personal information of customers.

The highest priority actions to advance the interoperability framework are identified as:

  • Developing a common semantic model for the smart grid
  • Developing a common pricing model standard across the value chain
  • Developing a common semantic model for advanced metering, demand response and electric transportation
  • Conducting an analysis to select Internet Protocol suite profiles for smart grid applications
  • Investigating communications interference in unlicensed radio spectrums
  • Developing common time synchronization and management guidelines
  • Coordinating efforts across standards development organizations.

The report, based on input from more than 1,000 stakeholders at two workshops, will be open for a 30 day period for comments.

“Widely adopted interoperability standards will enable integration, effective cooperation, and secure two-way communication among the many networked elements of a smart electric power grid,” commented George Arnold, NIST national coordinator for smart grid interoperability. “This report is an important step forward in that process.”

The report will then be used by the NIST in drafting the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework. The NIST document will describe a high level architecture, identify an initial set of key standards, and provide a roadmap for developing new or revised standards needed to realize the Smart Grid. Release 1.0 of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework is planned to be available in September.