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US$10m to develop Smart Grid standards

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and US Energy Secretary Steven Chu have announced standards needed for the interoperability and security of a Smart Grid and US$10 million in funding under the Recovery Act to support the development of these standards.

Secretary Chu has also announced that based on feedback from the public and Smart Grid stakeholders, the Department of Energy (DoE) is increasing the maximum award available under the Recovery Act for Smart Grid programmes.

The maximum award available under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program will be increased from US$20m to US$200m and for the Smart Grid Demonstration Projects from US$40m to US$100m.

"President Obama has made a smart electrical grid a key element of his plan to lower energy costs for consumers, achieve energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Secretary Locke said in mid-May. "Today, we took a significant step toward developing the open and transparent interoperability standards necessary to realise the Smart Grid vision."

"The Smart Grid is an urgent national priority that requires all levels of government as well as industry to cooperate," Secretary Chu added. "I'm pleased that industry leaders stepped forward today and are working with us to get consensus. We still have much to do, but the ultimate result will be a much more efficient, flexible power grid and the opportunity to dramatically increase our use of renewable energy."

The initial batch of 16 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognised interoperability standards would help ensure that software and hardware components from different vendors will work together seamlessly, while securing the grid against disruptions.

Spanning areas ranging from smart customer meters to distributed power generation components to cybersecurity, the list of standards is based on the consensus expressed by participants in the first public Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Interim Roadmap workshop, held on 28-29 April.

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