Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- October 26, 2010 - The U.S. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has released an “Interoperability and Cyber Security Plan” for cooperatives participating in a nationwide smart grid demonstration project.

The plan, which was developed by NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network (CRN), sets out the interoperability and cyber security requirements that will be incorporated in the demonstration by the 18 participating coops.

The $67.9 million demonstration is being supported with $33.9 million from the ARRA and will install a suite of smart grid technologies, including smart meters, demand response switches, in-home displays and smart thermostats, and aggregate the data from the participating coops across 10 states.

Central to the plan is NRECA’s MultiSpeak specification, which defines standardized interfaces among software applications commonly used by electric utilities. The NRECA says it will build on the existing MultiSpeak® specification, with plans to expand the number of interfaces included in it by 50 percent. In particular extensions will be designed, coded, and tested that are needed to achieve some of the DOE’s interoperability goals.

The NRECA says it will also use the purchasing power and the RFP process (more than $42 million will be spent on components) to push for more secure technologies, and with developments occurring in other standards, protocols, and interfaces under development, will incorporate these as appropriate.

“This plan represents a critical first step that starts with a recognition of the real world circumstances of rural cooperatives who have been out in front on smart grid development,” said Ed Torrero, director of the Cooperative Research Network. “Prior to deploying more than 150,000 new components, participating coops will adapt this plan to their own situation, implementing best practices and continuous process improvement to help improve their security posture during and beyond the life of the project.”

The participating coops include:

  • Adams Electric Cooperative, Menard Electric Cooperative (IL)
  • Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative (WI)
  • Clarke Electric Cooperative, Inc., Corn Belt Power Cooperative, Calhoun County Electric Cooperative Association, Humboldt County Rural Electric Cooperative, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Prairie Energy Cooperative (IA)
  • Delaware County Electric Co-op (NY)
  • Flint EMC, Snapping Shoals EMC (GA)
  • Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (HI)
  • New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NH)
  • Owen Electric Cooperative, Inc., Salt River Electric Cooperative (KY)
  • United REMC (IN)
  • Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative (LA)