GAITHERSBURG, Md. - The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued an initial list of standards, cyber security strategy, and other elements of a framework to support transforming the nation’s electric power system into an interoperable smart grid.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) set development of the smart grid as a national policy goal, and it assigned NIST the “primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems …”

According to NIST, by integrating digital computing and communication technologies and services with the power-delivery infrastructure, the smart grid will enable two-way communication and control capabilities. A range of new applications and capabilities will result. Anticipated benefits range from real-time consumer control over energy usage to significantly increased reliance on solar and other sources of renewable energy to greatly improve reliability, flexibility, and efficiency of the entire grid.

The first release of the smart grid interoperability framework contains:

• A conceptual reference model to facilitate design of an architecture for the smart grid;

• An initial set of 75 standards identified as applicable to the smart grid;

• Priorities for additional standards to resolve important gaps;

• Action plans under which designated standards-setting organizations will address these priorities; and

• An initial smart grid cyber security strategy and associated requirements.

In November 2009, NIST launched a Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) to assist it in this endeavor, including working with regulatory bodies on evaluating and implementing standards in this and subsequent releases of the NIST interoperability framework.

A public-private partnership, the SGIP is designed to provide “a more permanent process” to support the evolution of the interoperability framework and further development of standards, according to the report. With NIST, the report explains, the panel will “identify and address additional gaps, assess changes in technology and associated requirements for standards, and provide ongoing coordination” of standards organizations’ efforts to support timely availability of needed smart grid standards.

A copy of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0, can be downloaded at

Publication date: 02/08/2010