NFPA affiliate gets $250,000 grant to review smart-grid technologies
The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), an affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), received a $250,000 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for a project that supports the development of safety standards for the smart-grid initiative. NIST is undertaking a comprehensive series of programs to help develop technology that enables next-generation power distribution throughout the smart grid, and the grant will support the standardization of such technologies, said Kathleen Almand, FPRF’s executive director.
“We want to do a careful assessment of the technologies that are going to be emerging and connected to the grid,” she said.
Almand said the FPRF will collaborate with NIST and the NFPA standards body to ensure safety issues associated with the build out of the smart-grid infrastructure is addressed.
Specifically, the organization will review and update NFPA 70, the national electric code, “where many of these issues need to be addressed,” she said. This includes interfaces with the grid through in-building energy storage systems, photovoltaics, metering and control systems, and other safety features.
“The foundation’s role is to develop data and information to assist the NFPA standards panels to write good standards,” she said. “It was important our technical committees came to address how the smart grid might impact safety and the NEC, in particular.”
Almand said the FPRF wants to make sure the NEC has the proper provisions to deal with the two-way flow of electricity that will happen as part of the grid.
“We will review NEC provisions to ensure such things as capacity and protection are appropriate in this new world that is emerging,” she said.
The group will release its findings and recommendation by year’s end, Almand said.