The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has announced that John F. Caskey, senior director of its power equipment division, has been named vice chair of the Governing Board of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. John D. McDonald, general manager of marketing for GE Energy's transmission and distribution business and an IEEE fellow, will serve as chair of the governing board. George Bjelovuk, managing director for marketing, research and program development at American Electric Power, will serve as secretary. All three officers will serve one-year terms.

The unanimous choice of governing board members, McDonald will serve as its chief spokesperson and will have primary responsibility for organizing meetings and activities.

NIST established SGIP, which now has more than 450 participating and observing member organizations, divided among 22 categories of smart grid stakeholders, to help it fulfill its smart grid responsibilities under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The governing board manages and coordinates the technical efforts of SGIP. In turn, SGIP is both a forum for discussing smart grid technical issues and a vehicle for inter-organizational collaboration to respond to these issues and to address emerging requirements for smart grid standards.

NIST has issued its Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0. Incorporating responses to comments during public review of a draft document release in 2009, this report identifies a group of standards applicable to the ongoing development of the smart grid, specifies an initial set of high-priority gaps requiring updated or entirely new standards, and describes progress in developing a cyber security strategy for the smart grid.

Under the guidance of the governing board, the SGIP will help NIST to extend this initial set of interoperability and cyber security standards. This set will make up a fraction of the total number of standards ultimately needed to build an advanced power grid that will integrate many varieties of digital computing and communication technologies and services with the power-delivery infrastructure.

“I'm invigorated by the challenge of helping so many committed energy industry leaders work together to frame the infrastructure that will power our planet for generations to come,” McDonald said. “Defining our standards will hasten the development of ever-improving solutions and help American innovation set the worldwide standard for smart grid efficiency, reliability and performance.”

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