New standards for the Smart Grid

The electric car you park in your garage should be able to plug into chargers anywhere in the country, thanks to work by the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel. It overwhelmingly agreed recently to establish the first new standards for Smart Grid technologies. The panel consists of representatives from 675 public and private organizations and was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology solely to set up Smart Grid standards. The new standards cover:

  • Internet protocols, while letting grid devices exchange data.

  • Energy-use data, to let consumers know the cost of energy used at specific times.

  • Vehicle charging stations, to ensure electric cars can connect to power outlets.

  • Communications between plug-in vehicles and the grid, to ensure the vehicles, which will draw heavy loads, don't overstrain the grid.

  • Requirements for smart meters, which will replace residential meters.

  • Guidelines for assessing wireless communication standards. Wireless devices will be needed for grid communication but generally have far lower tolerances for signal delays and interruptions than general data-communication devices such as cell phones.

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