New White House Task Force on Smart Grid Focuses on Standards and

US Vice President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited the ABB Transformer plant in Jefferson City, Mo., yesterday and made a couple of automation and cyber-related announcements. Here's the relevant portion of the ABB press release about the visit:

 A surprise feature of the event came when U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke used his time at the podium to announce the creation of a new White House task force on smart grid issues. The electricity network is expected to become progressively “smarter” through greater use of advanced technologies that provide more control over power flows and fluctuations in consumer demand. In this way, intermittent power sources such as wind and solar can be better integrated into the grid.

Smart grid task force
Specifically, Locke pointed to the need for common standards to bring to the power grid the same kind of interoperability that has made technologies like ATM machines and the Internet ubiquitous.

This White House Task Force will clearly need to deal with the lack of clear and definitive cyber standards-- too many standards is as bad or worse than no standards at all, as well as the implementation of IEC 61850 and the appropriate security for interconnection of IEDs under 61850.

ABB is well known for pushing control and power integration and one of the selling points they make is that it is easier to secure a fully integrated control system at a process plant or power generating facility.

Looks like the White House is taking that argument seriously.