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Communications Requirements of Smart Grid Technologies

This report sets forth the findings of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the communications requirements of electric utilities and proposes specific recommendations for next steps to support these requirements. In order to analyze these requirements properly, this report will review the projected requirements of various components of the Smart Grid. The template used in this report is built upon work by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), augmented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which identified six key priority functionalities of the Smart Grid: (1) advanced metering infrastructure; (2) demand response; (3) electric vehicles; (4) wide-area situational awareness; (5) distributed energy resources and storage; and, (6) distribution grid management.3 Recognizing the need for quantifying communications requirements in order to assess the performance of various communications technologies, NIST and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) initiated an effort in the context of the Priority Action Plan on Wireless Communications4 to collect communications requirements for various Smart Grid applications. This effort has been undertaken by the OpenSG SG Communications Task Group and to date has compiled over 1400 functional and volumetric requirements for 18 different use cases.5 In addition, SGIP also established other Priority Action Plans and Working Groups to address networking, data modeling, and security issues. Because of the dynamic and continually evolving nature of Smart Grid applications and technologies, our review represents a snapshot of where the technologies and requirements stand today, informed by the responses to the DOE RFI.