When Are Standards Ready to Deploy?

One of the most critical issues for utilities and vendors is understanding when the industry can expect the products based on a standard to be ready to deploy. When will products be certified? Are certified products really interoperable without extensive custom integration?

SGIP-wht-smThe Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s Catalog of Standards (CoS) is intended to help answer these questions. The Catalog is an extensive, multi-year effort on the part of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel to identify, evaluate and approve smart grid standards for inclusion in the official SGIP Catalog. While the Catalog is not an official document of the US Government, it does represent the best collective wisdom of the industry as represented in the SGIP.

The Catalog is a compendium of standards and practices considered to be relevant for the development and deployment of a robust, interoperable, and secure Smart Grid. Though standards facilitate interoperability, they rarely, if ever, cover all levels of agreement and configuration required in practice. As a part of its work program, the SGIP has defined a testing and certification program, SGIP TCC IPRM that, if applied to the equipment, devices, and systems built to the standards listed in the Catalog, will improve the probability that products “certified” for a standard are interoperable with one another.

Criteria for Inclusion in the SGIP Catalog of Standards

In order to be included in the SGIP Catalog of Standards, the standard facilitates interoperability related to the integration of Smart Grid devices or systems. Relevant Smart Grid capabilities are as defined by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and must be relevant to one or more of the goals implied in the capabilities. The standard should improve the:

  1. Reliability, security and efficiency of the Smart Grid
  2. Dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources, with full cyber-security
  3. Deployment and integration of distributed resources and generation, including renewable resources.
  4. Development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources, and energy-efficiency resources.
  5. Deployment of ‘‘smart’’ technologies[1]
  6. Integration of ‘‘smart’’ appliances and consumer devices.
  7. Deployment and integration of advanced electricity storage and peak-shaving technologies[2]
  8. Provision to consumers of timely information and control
  9. Development of standards for communication and interoperability of appliances and equipment[3]
  10. Reduction of unreasonable or unnecessary barriers to adoption of Smart Grid technologies, practices, and services.


  1. The standard should be widely acknowledged as facilitating interoperability related to the integration of devices or systems that enable Smart Grid capabilities.
  2. The standard must demonstrate evidence of either having been deployed or it must be expected to fulfill a Smart Grid deployment gap with demonstrated adequate performance capabilities in commercial (real-world) applications.
  3. The relevant portions of the standard focus on requirements for integration and interaction through well-defined interfaces. The standard facilitates independence and flexibility in device or system design and implementation choices.
  4. The standard is supported by a multi-member organization that will ensure that it can be unambiguously referenced, that it is regularly revised and improved to meet changing requirements, and that there is a strategy for ensuring its continued relevance.

When Are Standards Ready?

Currently, 43 standards are included in the Catalog of Standards, but this number is rapidly growing. Another 14 are awaiting review by the SGIP Governing Board, and many more are in the process of being reviewed by the SGIP working groups. The most recent addition to the SGIP Catalog of Standards review process is the development of an assessment by the Test and Certification Committee (TCC), headed by QualityLogic’s James Mater. The new assessment for the standards focus on the state of the test and certification programs related to the standards in the catalog.

While the reviews by other SGIP Committees have focused on the assessment of the “need” for the standard and its cyber-security worthiness, the TCC review provides practical guidance to customers and vendors of technology built on the standards. This assessment is critical to making deployment decisions. It is only when standards are mature enough to have robust test and certification programs that they become candidates for confident deployment in the real world.

For more information on the Catalog of Standards, visit the referenced SGIP web pages. For more information on the TCC assessments, watch the Catalog of Standards or contact James Mater at QualityLogic.


  1. Real-time, automated, interactive technologies that optimize the physical operation of appliances and consumer devices for metering, communications concerning grid operations and status, and distribution automation.
  2. Including plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and thermal-storage air conditioning.
  3. Connected to the electric grid, including the infrastructure serving the grid.