The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP)—a consensus-based group of more than 675 public and private organizations created by the National Institute of Standards (NIST)—has made the first six entries into its new Catalog of Standards, a technical document that is expected to serve as a guide for smart grid–related technology.

The six standards, all of which were approved previously by the SGIP’s governing board, received approval by more than 90% of the broader SGIP membership in voting earlier this month. Although 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.

The announcement last week follows a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last month in which it declined to take action on the first five sets of smart grid interoperability standards submitted to it by NIST. FERC explained that there was no consensus among key stakeholders that the standards should be adopted, and that the standards failed to address cybersecurity concerns. The agency asked NIST to continue to work on the standards in consultation with stakeholders, however. FERC is required to review and approve NIST standards and protocols governing the operation of smart grid systems under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

SGIP last week said that the six entries in its Catalog of Standards 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,” it said.

Among the catalog’s six standards are:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Sources: POWERnews, NIST