By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk
New standards, cybersecurity guidance and product testing proposals are among the new elements in an updated roadmap for Smart Grid interoperability by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US.
The NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0, builds upon and updates a January 2010 report. NIST's first outline, Release 1.0, laid out an initial plan for transforming the aging electric power system in the US into an interoperable Smart Grid — integrating information and communication technologies with a power-delivery infrastructure to enable two-way flows of energy and communications.
"Making such dramatic changes to the power grid requires an overarching vision of how to accomplish the task, and this updated Framework advances that vision," said NIST's George Arnold, the National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability. Because the Smart Grid will be a highly complex system of interacting systems, it is essential that everyone with a stake in the new grid have a common understanding of its major building blocks and how they interrelate, Arnold said. "Utilities, manufacturers, equipment testers and regulators will find essential information in the Framework that was not previously available."
Release 2.0 adds 22 standards, specifications and guidelines to the 75 NIST recommended as immediately applicable to the Smart Grid in the first roadmap. New to the 2.0 version is a chapter on the roles of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), an organization created by NIST in November 2009 to provide an open forum for members to collaborate on standards development. More than 700 organizations are now members of the SGIP, which recently made the first six entries into its Catalogue of Standards, a technical document for those involved with developing grid-connected devices. Eventually, hundreds of such standards will be entered into the Catalogue, which is also described in the SGIP chapter.
Further improvements and additions to the original document include:
- an expanded view of the architecture of the Smart Grid
- a number of developments related to ensuring cybersecurity for the Smart Grid, including a Risk Management Framework to provide guidance on security practices;
- a new framework for testing the conformity of devices and systems to be connected to the Smart Grid – the Interoperability Process Reference Manual;
- Information on efforts to coordinate the Smart Grid standards effort for the United States with similar efforts in other parts of the world; and
- an overview of future areas of work, including electromagnetic disturbance and interference, and improvements to the SGIP processes.