Advancing Smart Grid Interoperability and Security Through Standards Adoption fosters innovation and accelerates robust, secure and reliable Smart Grid deployments. This is achieved by lowering the barriers to entry for vendors, accelerating secure and interoperable product time to market, and ultimately lowering costs for consumers.

Establishing a common vision for a viable and self-sustaining Smart Grid market is critical to ensuring the success of current collaborative industry efforts. Specifically, the public/private collaboration, currently underway on Smart Grid standards, should be guided in the context of a standards life-cycle framework where each stakeholder understands the role it plays and the collaborative goal.

VISION FOR THE FUTURE

The goal of the standards life-cycle framework is to align collaborative efforts on policy, standards development, product development and procurement actions to create a self-sustaining Smart Grid market. The effect in the marketplace is that product vendors have the incentive to compete against each other to create Smart Grid solutions that are increasingly interoperable and secure.

This holistic approach to standards adoption allows for more inclusive stakeholder representation, increases the robustness of Smart Grid deployments and may accelerate Smart Grid implementations. Achieving increasing levels of interoperability, reliability and security will require a concerted effort by all utilities.

DEFINING THE STANDARDS LIFE-CYCLE FRAMEWORK

The standards life-cycle framework, shown in the diagram, relies on utility procurements for enforcement. This life cycle also provides other key touch points beyond the final enforcement of a given standard. Utility procurements, at their core, are concerned with procuring products, which meet a given set of criteria. These criteria include regulatory policy, operational needs and business functionality as well as any standards compliance requirements.

REAPING BENEFITS

Lower product costs, operational costs and improved resiliency are significant benefits associated with standards adoption. In order to truly realize these benefits, the entire product life cycle needs to be considered.

Collaborative efforts across the industry should be unified by a comprehensive standards life-cycle framework. This more holistic view also clearly identifies the roles for key stakeholders' participation. For the energy sector, enabling and enhancing this standards life-cycle framework should be the primary goal.

As part of this standards life-cycle framework, stakeholders can define operational needs, which are carried into standards development by utilities and vendors. The resulting standards can be recognized by federal and state regulators as meeting policy objectives. As this life-cycle framework continues, manufacturers and software developers create products, which are evaluated for standards compliance certification by independent commercial labs. A utility may then procure devices/solutions for implementation.


Jeff Gooding (Jeff.Gooding@sce.com) is the IT general manager of Smart Grid Engineering at Southern California Edison, a member company of Utilimetrics. He is managing the architecture and engineering team supporting the Edison SmartConnect project, SCE's advanced metering infrastructure program.