Smart Grid Panel Approves Six Standards for Catalog

Standards include those for IP, energy usage information, vehicle charging, smart meter upgrades, wireless device assessment, and communication between plug-in vehicles and the smart grid.

The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) has made the first six entries into its new Catalog of Standards, a technical document now available as a guide for all involved with Smart Grid-related technology.

The six standards, all of which had been approved previously by the SGIP’s Governing Board, received approval by greater than 90 percent of the broader SGIP membership in voting earlier this month. The SGIP, a consensus-based group of more than 675 public and private organizations (with nearly 1,800 individual members), was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate the development of Smart Grid standards. While the SGIP does not develop or write these standards directly, a vote of approval signifies that its member organizations have agreed on the inclusion of a group of standards in the catalog.

These entries in the Catalog of Standards constitute the first items in what will be a useful toolkit for anyone involved in the Smart Grid—whether they are utilities that generate and distribute power, companies developing new electronic devices, or consumers who buy and use them,” says NIST’s George Arnold, the National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability.

While it will be of interest to regulators, it will primarily be important as a knowledge base for the entire grid community. It will eventually contain hundreds of consensus documents.

The six entries relate to high-priority national standards needed to create a modern, energy-efficient power grid with seamlessly interoperable components. In order to convert today’s power grid—which still functions largely as it did when grids were created in the 19th century—into a power distribution network that can enable the wide use of electric vehicles, as well as incorporate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, a number of new standards must be established. Among these are the catalog’s first six entries, which include:

  • Internet protocol standards, which will allow grid devices to exchange information;
  • Energy usage information standards, which will permit consumers to know the cost of energy used at a given time;
  • Standards for vehicle charging stations, necessary for ensuring electric vehicles can be connected to power outlets;
  • Use cases for communication between plug-in vehicles and the grid, to help ensure that the vehicles—which will draw heavy power loads—will not place undue strain on the grid;
  • Requirements for upgrading smart meters, which will replace household electric meters; and
  • Guidelines for assessing standards for wireless communication devices, which will be needed for grid communication but can have far less tolerance for delay or interruption of signals than there is among general data communication devices, such as cell phones.

The energy usage information standard may very well be the most interesting to consumers at this point,” says John McDonald, SGIP Governing Board Chair and Director of Technical Strategy & Policy Development at GE Digital Energy.

It will help consumers take control of their energy usage by helping to provide real-time communication between utilities and consumers about power availability and cost. This will help them make better decisions about when to use electricity.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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