On July 15, 2010, Ray Palmer from the Office of Electric Reliability presented an update the Commission’s Smart Grid Policy Statement (the “Policy Statement”) at the Commission’s monthly meeting.  The Commission originally issued the Policy Statement last July (see March 20, 2010 edition of the WER).  Since then, Commission Staff has worked with the National Institute of Standards of Technology (“NIST”) to discuss Commission priorities and encourage industry participation in creating smart grid standards. 

The Policy Statement identified key priority areas for developing smart grid standards.  These include: system security standards development and harmonization, effective communication and coordination, wide-area situational awareness, demand response, energy storage, and plug-in electric vehicles. 

In January 2010, the NIST issued a Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0 (“Roadmap”).  This Roadmap addressed gaps in smart grid standards and laid out priority action plans to deal with these gaps.  The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (“SGIP”) will aid NIST, as will the Cyber Security Working Group (“CSWG”) within the SGIP.  Palmer’s presentation indicated that Commission Staff expects that the first group of standards might be available for the Commission’s consideration by late summer.

Palmer’s presentation also included a recommendation that the Commission institute a rulemaking proceeding when it receives the first group of standards, and should also seek public comment on any related issues, including whether each standard satisfies the Energy Independence and Security Act, which ordered the Commission to create smart grid standards.  Staff also recommended that when examining standards, the Commission should look to three criteria, such as:

  • Whether sufficient consensus has been reached;
  • Whether the standard is necessary for smart grid functionality and interoperability in interstate transmission of electric power and regional and wholesale electricity markets; and
  • Whether there are known cyber security issues with the standard.

Staff recommended that the Commission look to National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (“NTTAA”) for guidance to determine if sufficient consensus has been reached.  Next, Staff recommended that the Commission rely on documents that NIST prepares to find if a standard is necessary for functionality and operability of smart grid.  Finally, Staff recommended that the Commission rely on recommendations of the CSWG to determine if there are known cyber security issues with the standards.

A copy of the presentation is available here.