NIST Releases Smart Grid Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its 'Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards' on January 19.

This report begins to lay out common standards for smart grid technologies to communicate and interconnect with one another. These standards will enable equipment from different manufacturers to communicate and operate with one another - for example, a meter from one company communicating with a clothes washer of another company and the electrical distribution network of a third.

Developing Common Protocols and Standards

NIST was first tasked with this responsibility in 2007, when the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) assigned NIST the responsibility to coordinate the development of common protocols and standards for smart grid systems.

As a consensus-based standards-making body, NIST engages a broad range of stakeholders to develop standards for rule-making bodies - in this case, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is expected to adopt the final standards that emerge from this process.

In its new report, NIST identifies existing standards that can be used and also notes gaps where new standard development is needed. It goes on to set out a framework for development of these new standards (or alteration of other existing standards to meet the needs of smart grid interoperability). These frameworks are important, as they will govern the process moving forward towards a final set of standards.

Also included is an initial strategy for ensuring the security of a modern interconnected grid.

Alliance Participation

Alliance staff were among the thousands of stakeholders who participated in meetings to identify these first smart grid interoperability standards.

Moving forward, the Alliance will continue to keep abreast of these developments in order to ensure that smart grid systems and grid modernization broaden energy efficiency in electrical transmission, distribution and consumers’ end use.


NIST offers more information on its smart grid standards-making activities, as well as a press release marking the announcement of this new report.