NIST and IEC view roadmaps to Smart Grid

Issue 29 – July 2011

This article was written by Scott Choinski, Programme Manager at National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). It is summarised from Electroindustry magazine Vol. 16 No. 6 by permission of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) both recognise that there is an urgent need to establish protocols and Standards for the Smart Grid. Without Standards, there is the potential for technologies developed or implemented with sizable public and private investments to become prematurely obsolete. They could also be implemented without the measures necessary to ensure security.

To guide these efforts, NIST and IEC have each issued a Smart Grid standardisation roadmap. These roadmaps provide an inventory of existing Standards that apply to the ongoing development of Smart Grid and identify high priority gaps and harmonisation issues for which new or revised Standards and requirements are needed.

The NIST and IEC Smart Grid roadmaps both identify core areas as priorities for standardisation and can be directly mapped to each other in five common application areas:

  1. advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)
  2. demand response
  3. distribution management systems/distribution grid management
  4. electromobility/electric transportation
  5. electric storage.

The NIST Smart Grid Standards process has identified approximately 75 key Standards needed for efficient rollout of the U.S. Smart Grid. Approximately 17 of these are IEC Standards. Close cooperation is needed between NIST, US industry and IEC to resolve gaps in international Standards.

IEC recognises this need for close cooperation with NIST. One of the recommendations in its roadmap is its Recommendation G-5:

The IEC should acknowledge the work already done by NIST and the participants of the NIST roadmap effort. The IEC should actively offer support in the identified prioritised action fields where the IEC is involved and offer consultation in some areas, whereas NIST focuses on local or regional Standards (for example, AMI, DER)…
The IEC should seek a close cooperation with the NIST roadmap activities.

NIST developed 16 Priority Action Plans (PAPs) and the outputs from some of these PAPs include recommendations to update key IEC Standards. Tight coordination is needed with the IEC to ensure that changes to IEC Standards are made in a timely manner. There are multiple paths for adding/harmonising US requirements with IEC Smart Grid Standards, but an optimal process has not been identified. Further discussions would be helpful.

Another area for cooperation could be to offer Standards from the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) Catalogue to fill gaps that the IEC has identified in its roadmap. The IEC has identified gaps for AMI in clause 4.3.7.5 of its roadmap.

NIST has identified a number of Standards for AMI, and some of these Standards may fill the IEC gaps. One example may be NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009 Requirements for Smart Meter Upgradeability. This Standard could be submitted for consideration as an IEC Standard.

Published in energy.