On December 21, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) announced plans to hold an additional Smart Grid technical conference on January 31, 2011 at 1 p.m. EST at FERC’s headquarters at 888 First Street, Washington, DC, 20426. According to the notice, the purpose of the technical conference is to assist FERC in making a determination of whether there is “sufficient consensus” that the five families of standards posted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and included in this proceeding are ready for Commission consideration in a rulemaking proceeding, as directed by section 1305(d) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The conference is open to the public and those not able to attend will be able to listen via webcast. FERC held its first technical conference on the five families of standards last November in Atlanta, GA.

NIST has posted technical narrative summaries of the standards to assist FERC and other interested Smart Grid stakeholders. These five IEC standards are concerned with the structure of messages exchanged within and across Smart Grid domains and are fundamental to interoperability:

  • IEC 61970 and IEC 61968: Provide a Common Information Model (CIM) necessary for exchanges of data between devices and networks, primarily in the transmission (IEC 61970) and distribution (lEC 61968) domains.
  • IEC 61850: Facilitates substation automation and communication as well as interoperability through a common data format.
  • IEC 60870-6: Facilitates exchanges of information between control centers. 
  • IEC 62351: Addresses the cyber security of the communication protocols defined by the preceding IEC standards.

George Arnold, national coordinator for smart grid interoperability, states in a letter to FERC, these standards will be updated as Smart Grid requirements evolve.