Interoperability and cybersecurity are priorities in all smart grid projects, and standards development is an essential grid modernization activity that is being accelerated by the Recovery Act. Interoperability is defined as the capability of two or more networks, systems, devices, applications, or components to share and readily use information securely and effectively with little or no inconvenience to the user. Cybersecurity is defined as the steps needed to reduce the risk of energy disruptions or unauthorized data access from attempted cyber intrusions, as well actions to avoid the loss of critical functions during an intentional cyber assault.

The two largest Smart Grid Recovery Act programs under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program and the Smart Grid Demonstration Program (SGDP). All of the SGIG and SGDP recipients are required to address both interoperability and cybersecurity in their smart grid projects. In addition, DOE is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), standards development organizations, and others to develop tools for the recipients in these areas and industry-based standards, protocols, and business practices.

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