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4/8/2009
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NIST Awards Smart Grid Contract

Standards agency taps EPRI to help develop a smart national energy grid.

The Electric Power Research Institute will develop a road map for standards and architecture for a smart grid.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced Tuesday that it has awarded EPRI a contract to help identify issues and priorities for an interoperable smart grid network. EPRI, a nonprofit research and development group, will help build consensus to form a foundation for smart grid standards. The group, based in Palo Alto, Calif., researches the generation, delivery, and use of electricity.

The $1.3 million contract, to develop architecture and key standards for a national smart grid, stems from a White House push toward energy independence. The funding comes from the NIST annual budget. Congress assigned NIST primary responsibility for coordinating and developing a framework of protocols and model standards for information management to ensure interoperability of smart grid systems and devices.

IT will enable modernized electric-power systems and networks to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably, and securely. The systems are expected to be cleaner and capable of drawing on alternative energy sources.

"The smart grid is a cornerstone of national efforts to achieve energy independence, save consumers money, and curb greenhouse gas emissions," NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher said in a statement released Tuesday. "This contract is a significant step in the urgent effort to identify and develop standards that will ensure a reliable and robust smart grid."

NIST will release a three-phase plan for submitting standards to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the interstate distribution and sales of electric power, by the end of this year.


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