Smart Grid security framework update

An expanded list of standards, new cyber security guidance and product testing proposals are among the new elements in an updated roadmap for Smart Grid interoperability.


ISSSourceThe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0, builds upon and updates a January 2010 report. NIST’s first outline, Release 1.0, laid out an initial plan for transforming the nation’s aging electric power system into an interoperable Smart Grid, which would be a network that will integrate information and communication technologies with a power-delivery infrastructure, enabling two-way flows of energy and communications.

“Making such dramatic changes to the power grid requires an overarching vision of how to accomplish the task, and this updated Framework advances that vision,” said George Arnold, the national coordinator for Smart Grid interoperability for NIST.

Because the Smart Grid will be a highly complex system of interacting systems, it is essential that everyone with a stake in the new grid have a common understanding of its major building blocks and how they interrelate, Arnold said. “Utilities, manufacturers, equipment testers and regulators will find essential information in the Framework that was not previously available.”

Release 2.0 adds 22 standards, specifications and guidelines to the 75 NIST recommended as immediately applicable to the Smart Grid in the first roadmap.

New to the 2.0 version is a chapter on the roles of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), an organization created by NIST in November 2009 to provide an open forum for members to collaborate on standards development. More than 700 organizations are now members of the SGIP, which made the first six entries into its Catalog of Standards, a technical document for those involved with developing grid-connected devices. Eventually, hundreds of such standards will make it into the Catalog, which is also described in the SGIP chapter.

Further improvements and additions to the original document include:

  • An expanded view of the architecture of the Smart Grid;
  • A number of developments related to ensuring cyber security for the Smart Grid, including a Risk Management Framework to provide guidance on security practices;
  • A new framework for testing the conformity of devices and systems to connect to the Smart Grid – the Interoperability Process Reference Manual;
  • Information on efforts to coordinate the Smart Grid standards effort for the U.S. with similar efforts in other parts of the world; and
  • An overview of future areas of work, including electromagnetic disturbance and interference, and improvements to the SGIP processes.

Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source ( You can reach him at ghale(at)

Edited by Amanda McLeman, Managing Editor, Plant Engineering and Control Engineering.

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