FERC adopts policy to accelerate smart grid development

FERC adopts policy to accelerate smart grid development

The Smart Grid Policy Statement sets priorities for work on development of standards crucial to a reliable and smart grid.

Smart grid advancements will apply digital technologies to the grid, enabling two-way communications and real-time co-ordination of information from both generating plants and demand-side resources. This will improve the efficiency of the bulk-power system and ultimately achieve long-term savings for consumers. It will also help promote wider use of demand response and other activities that will enable consumers to control their electricity costs.

The final policy issued on July 16h closely tracks the proposed policy issued in March. It sets priorities to guide industry in the development of smart grid standards for achieving interoperability and functionality of smart grid systems and devices. It also sets out FERC policy for recovery of costs by utilities that act early to adopt smart grid technologies.

"Changes in how we produce, deliver and consume electricity will require smarter bulk power systems with secure, reliable communications capabilities to deliver long-term savings for consumers," said FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff.

"The smart grid policy provides a roadmap that will guide the transformation of the old grid into the grid of the future, while providing for fair regulatory treatment to consumers and utilities," added Commissioner Suedeen Kelly.

Commissioner Philip Moeller noted that it is the FERC's responsibility to help protect the security and reliability of the country's electric grid by adopting effective cyber-security standards for the smart grid.

The new policy aims to ensure:

  • that the grid is cyber-secure
  • that two-way communications are provided between regional market operators, utilities, service providers and consumers
  • that power system operators have equipment that enables them to operate reliably by monitoring their own systems as well as neighbouring systems that affect them
  • the co-ordination of the integration into the power system of emerging technologies such as renewable resources, demand response resources, electricity storage facilities and electric transportation systems
  • that early adopters of smart grid technologies will be able to recover smart grid costs if they demonstrate that those costs serve to protect cyber-security and reliability of the electric system, along with the ability to be upgraded, among other requirements

The FERC says it will not interfere with any state's ability to adopt whatever advanced metering or demand response program it chooses.

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