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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accelerated development of a smarter grid for the nation's electric transmission system with a proposed policy statement and action plan that would help set the rules of the road of a modern grid that would help bring long-term savings to consumers.

"A smarter bulk power system, and the generation and demand resources associated with it, will operate more securely, reliably and efficiently," says FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. "The smart grid will give consumers better information and the tools to control their electricity costs, and it will play a critical role in the integration of new renewable resources."

Smart-grid advancements will apply digital technologies to the grid and enable real-time coordination of information from both generating plants and demand-side resources. This will improve the efficiency of the bulk-power system, with the goal of achieving long-term consumer savings, and it will enable demand response and other transactions and activities that give consumers the tools to control their electricity costs.

FERC's proposed policy statement seeks public comment on standards for four priority issues critical to the smooth functioning and operation of the smart grid. After weighing public comments, FERC plans to adopt a final policy statement providing guidance to the electric power industry on standards for the following:

- cyber security;

- communications among regional market operators, utilities, service providers and consumers;

- ensuring that the bulk power system operators have wide-area situational awareness with equipment that allows them to monitor and operate their systems; and

- coordinating operation of the bulk power system with new and emerging technologies for renewable resources, demand resources, electricity storage and electric transportation systems.

FERC says utilities may seek to recover the costs of smart-grid deployments that demonstrate system security and compliance with FERC-approved reliability standards and other criteria.

SOURCE: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission



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