Produced by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the document identifies about 80 initial standards that will enable a number of interconnected devices and systems that will make up the nationwide Smart Grid to communicate and work with each other.

These standards are expected to support interoperability of all the various pieces of the system—ranging from large utility companies down to individual homes and electronic devices. The report also lists a set of 14 priority action plans that address the important gaps in the initial standard set.

Mr Locke said: “To use an analogy from the construction world, this report is like a designer’s first detailed drawing of a complex structure.

“It presents a high-level conceptual model to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward to develop more detailed, formal Smart Grid architectures. This high-level model is critical to help plan where to go next.”

The draft will be posted for a 30-day period of public comment and review. According to George Arnold, NIST’s national coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability, finalizing the standards will ensure that the grid transformation goes both smoothly and rapidly. About $4.5 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds to the Department of Energy (DOE) also are slated for Smart Grid demonstration projects.

When completed, the Smart Grid will employ real-time, two-way digital information and communication technologies in the operation of the nation’s electricity grid.

The draft report, entitled NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0, incorporates input from more than 1,500 industry, government and other stakeholders who have participated in the NIST framework development process.

Following the 30-day public review and comment on the draft, NIST will finalize the Framework document, which is the culmination of the first phase of NIST’s three-phase approach to develop Smart Grid standards.

Phase 1 includes the engagement of stakeholders in a participatory public process to identify applicable standards and gaps in currently available standards and priorities for new standardization activities, which ends with the final publication of the Framework report after public comments have been incorporated.

Phase 2 will establish a private-public partnership and forum, a Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, to drive longer-term progress. NIST is using ARRA funds to establish the panel by the end of 2009. Phase 3 will develop and implement a framework for testing and certification of how standards are implemented in Smart Grid devices, systems and processes.

NIST is consulting with industry, government and other stakeholders to develop a plan for a testing and certification framework by the end of 2009 and take steps toward implementation in 2010.