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NIST Awards Contract for Smart Grid Standards

August 25, 2009

EnerNex Corp. will help NIST to sustain its fast-track development of the standards required for the Smart Grid.

GAITHERSBURG, MD -- The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that EnerNex Corp., Knoxville, TN, was awarded a contract to help NIST sustain the accelerated development of the hundreds of compatible standards that will be required to build a secure, interoperable smart electric power grid. NIST is obligating a portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds allocated to NIST through the Department of Energy to the contract.

Awarded under an unrestricted, fully open and competitive process, the contract will run for up to two years if all options are exercised with an estimated cost of about $8.5 million.

EnerNex's first task will be to establish and administer a Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Panel to identify, prioritize and address new and emerging requirements for Smart Grid interoperability and security. This work will further develop the initial NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework (Release 1.0), expected to be released in September for public comment.

Release 1.0 will identify the first set of key standards and provide a roadmap for developing new or revised standards critical to Smart Grid development. It also will describe a reference model to help organize the Smart Grid and identify linkages among many varied Smart Grid components—including household appliances, utilities, windmills and electric vehicles.

The panel will interact with expert working groups, a cyber security coordination task group, and other volunteer technical bodies established by NIST during this first phase of its Smart Grid efforts.

The panel will consist of key Smart Grid stakeholders, including utilities, independent power producers, federal agencies, state regulators, equipment manufacturers, consumer groups and developers of information technology applications and devices. They will engage their peers in meetings set to begin the week of Nov. 16, 2009, in Denver.

EnerNex will also work with NIST, the private-sector, and non-profit organizations to begin establishing a testing and certification infrastructure that will ensure Smart Grid-related software, hardware and services conform to standards.

In addition, the contract calls for EnerNex to build a publicly accessible "interoperability knowledge base." It will contain information on Smart Grid standards, relevant activities of standards development organizations, and other types of information needed to guide standards development over the long term.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, NIST has "primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems."

The Smart Grid integrates information and networking technologies into the nation's electric system to enable advanced control and communication capabilities. It is a key component of President Obama's plans to achieve energy independence and to address climate change.

Greater efficiency, increasing use of renewable energy, and other Smart Grid benefits are expected to create jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and help U.S. industry develop, apply and export clean energy technology.

As a non-regulatory agency, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

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