Today in Cleantech

Let’s call this smart grid wonk Friday. After more than a year of working on hundreds of smart grid standards, the National Institute for Standards and Technology has released five “foundational” sets of standards for federal and state regulators. But the five International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards in question don’t hit such hot topics as whether Internet protocol (IP) will be required in smart meters, or whether ZigBee will be favored for home energy networks. Rather, they deal with big utility systems, including data exchange between different utility control stations, transmission and distribution systems and substation automation systems — as well as the critical cybersecurity aspect of how all those systems will interact. As for real-world application of the standards, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has started a rulemaking process on how it could encourage, or perhaps force, compliance by utilities and their smart grid vendors. Stay tuned for more details — though, with the speed these things usually unfold, don’t hold your breath.