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The primary guiding document for creating the next-generation smart grid is getting its first major update in two years.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting public comment on a draft of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 3.0.

NIST says the new document builds upon and updates the February 2012 framework release 2.0, the organization's outline of the plan to transform the aging electric power system of the U.S. into an interoperable smart grid.

"There have been many remarkable advances in smart grid infrastructure since the release of the last edition," comments Chris Greer, director of NIST's Smart Grid Program Office. "By 2015, nearly a third of the 144 million meters in the U.S. will be smart meters. Through the Green Button effort, more than 45 electricity suppliers nationwide have committed to providing 59 million homes and businesses with access to their energy usage data.

"This new edition embraces this remarkable progress and provides a foundation for working together for the smart grid of the future," Greer adds.

Important new elements in this revision, NIST reports, are international smart grid activities, revised guidelines for cybersecurity, advances in testing and certification frameworks, and discussion of smart grid research and development needs.

NIST notes that the new document also updates the reference model of the smart grid, adding clearer definitions and a methodological approach. This model, which offers a broad picture of how the fundamental elements of the smart grid connect and communicate, now incorporates distributed energy resources.

"We worked closely with the European Union to harmonize the NIST conceptual model with the one the EU is developing," says NIST's Paul Boynton. "We want both models to reflect each other, which is important so that manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic will be able to sell devices overseas."

The new framework document is posted to the Federal Register and will be open for public comment until May 30. NIST is planning to host a webinar to present the new draft framework to the public on May 2. Attendance information is available here.

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