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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced the first set of standards that are needed for the interoperability and security of a nationwide smart grid. In addition, $10 million in Recovery Act funds, provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the development of interoperability standards, will be made available.

Chu also announced that, based on feedback from the public and smart-grid stakeholders, the DOE is increasing the maximum award available under the Recovery Act for smart-grid programs from $20 million to $200 million. For smart-grid demonstration projects, there will be an increase from $40 million to $100 million. The DOE will ensure that funding is provided to a variety of applications, including small projects and as end-to-end larger projects.

The initial batch of 16 NIST-recognized interoperability standards will help ensure that software and hardware components from different vendors will work together seamlessly, while securing the grid against disruptions, according to the DOE.

Spanning areas ranging from smart customer meters to distributed power generation components to cybersecurity, the list of standards is based on the consensus expressed by participants in the first public Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Interim Roadmap workshop, which was held in April.

The DOE also announced that the $10 million it received to support the development of interoperability standards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been transferred to NIST to help accelerate efforts to coordinate these critical standards.

Public comments on the initial standards will be accepted for 30 days after their upcoming publication in the Federal Register. The date of publication will be posted at nist.gov.

SOURCE: The Department of Energy

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