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NIST Requests Comments on Smart Grid Framework Update

The primary guiding document for creating the next-generation "smart" energy grid is getting its first major update in two years. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting public comment on a draft of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 3.0.

The new document builds upon and updates the February 2012 Framework Release 2.0,* NIST's outline of the plan to transform the nation's aging electric power system into an interoperable smart grid—a network that will integrate information and communication technologies with the power-delivery infrastructure, enabling bidirectional flows of energy as well as two-way communication and control.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established a goal to modernize the nation's electricity system and assigned to NIST the primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems. This revised framework furthers the goals of the Act.

"There have been many remarkable advances in smart grid infrastructure since the release of the last edition," says Chris Greer, director of NIST's Smart Grid Program Office. "By 2015, nearly a third of the 144 million meters in the U.S. will be smart meters. Through the Green Button effort, more than 45 electricity suppliers nationwide have committed to providing 59 million homes and businesses with access to their energy usage data. This new edition embraces this remarkable progress and provides a foundation for working together for the smart grid of the future."

Important new elements in this revision are international smart grid activities, revised guidelines for cybersecurity, advances in testing and certification frameworks, and discussion of smart grid research and development needs.

Another update is to the reference model of the smart grid, adding clearer definitions and a methodological approach. These are found in Chapter 5 and Appendices B and C. This model, which offers a broad picture of how the fundamental elements of the smart grid connect and communicate, now incorporates "distributed energy resources," a concept that includes energy production from nontraditional sources such as customer-owned solar and wind power systems.

"We worked closely with the European Union to harmonize the NIST conceptual model with the one the EU is developing," says NIST's Paul Boynton. "We want both models to reflect each other, which is important so that manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic will be able to sell devices overseas."

NIST is planning to host a webinar to present the new draft framework to the public on May 2, 2014. Attendance information is available online. (link removed; no longer active)

The Framework 3.0 document is posted to the Federal Register ( and will be open for public comment until Friday, May 30.

*See the 2012 article, "NIST Releases Final Smart Grid 'Framework 2.0' Document."

Released April 16, 2014, Updated January 23, 2023