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NIST releases new smart grid guidance

By Donna Donnawitz
March 2, 2012
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released the final version of the smart grid Framework 2.0 document, providing essential guidance for the transition to the advanced utility infrastructure.

With the new framework available, utility providers now have access to a document that outlines a clear plan for transforming the nation's electric grid, which has become, in many cases, outdated to such an extent that it is difficult to manage and physically maintain. The framework details a strategy to develop an interoperable smart grid network that will integrate information technology networking elements with power delivery systems. When combines, these two typically disparate technological elements will allow utility providers to create a two-way flow of energy and communications infrastructure, enabling more sophisticated and efficient power delivery.

George Arnold, the national coordinator for smart grid interoperability at NIST, explained that the new framework represents the work of collaborating bodies, as the standards firm worked heavily with other organizations and took public comments into account during its development.

"Release 2.0 represents a significant update to the NIST Release 1.0 Framework. In addition to the comments received through the public review, we vetted the draft framework in advance with the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel and other groups. The document reflects the consensus-based process the SGIP uses to coordinate development of smart grid standards," said Arnold.

The Framework 2.0 includes a number of significant new elements, including details about the SGIP's role as a collaborator with the NIST in smart grid development scheme. The new standards document also details a more expansive view of smart grid architecture, many new developments on how cybersecurity issues interact with smart grid systems and interoperablity guidance pertaining to conforming devices to the unique needs of smart grid architectures.

The new guidance on smart grid implementation could be well timed. Many experts agree that a combination of government stimulus funding, utility investments and years of planning will lead to significant smart grid expansion during 2012. Essentially, many U.S. utility providers have spent the past few years preparing for smart grid deployment, and 2012 could be the time when those efforts lead to actual deployment in many areas. This could lead to rapid innovation within the country, as more utility providers work to implement the advanced technology to support sustainability and general operational efforts.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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