The members of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (“SGIP”) are working on standards, policies and guides to help modernize the electric power grid. Last month, the Smart Grid Cybersecurity Committee of SGIP released a helpful resource: A straight forward thirty page User’s Guide to help utilities navigate the previous released hefty 597 page Interagency Report (NISTIR) 7628, Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security. Although not as lengthy as the main event, the User’s Guide contains practical suggestions utilities will find useful. The guide has its share of charts and graphs but I find the gray shaded boxes noteworthy. They serve as a jab in the side to remind utilities about information they may have overlooked while engrossed in the details. For example, on page nine of the report, the gray box says, “Every organization is unique, so portions of the NISTIR Logical Reference Model may not be directly applicable for every business process for every utility. Optionally, instead of solely using the NISTIR 7628 Logical Reference Model diagram, you may create a flowchart that identifies the way the different Actors interface with each other. This will help you conceptualize how the NISTIR 7628 Logical Reference Model aligns to your own organizational business processes.”

If there were doubts, these next few sentences will confirm I am an energy geek. While researching this post, I noticed the most beautiful prose regarding our electric grid on the NIST.gov homepage. It gives big kudos to the current grid while pushing towards the future… and it made me smile. Happy Friday!

Today’s electric power grid ranks as the single greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. And tomorrow’s smart grid will be one of the greatest achievements of the 21st century. By linking information technologies with the electric power grid—to provide “electricity with a brain”—the smart grid promises many benefits, including increased energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, and improved power reliability.

– NIST.gov homepage.