NIST is charged by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) with facilitation of interoperability standards to enable successful implementation of the evolving cyber-physical national electric grid system known as the smart grid (SG).The Smart Grid Testbed Facility will create a unique set of interacting testbeds in several key measurement areas—co-located on the NIST Gaithersburg site—that will accelerate SG interoperability standards development by providing characterization of smart grid protocols, with particular emphasis on microgrids. Measurements will include nine areas: power conditioning, microgrid virtual measurements, synchrophasor metrology, time synchronization, electric power metering, modeling/evaluation of SG communications, sensor interfaces, energy storage, and cybersecurity. Initial modules will advance SG-related measurement science in three key areas: cybersecurity, synchrophasor measurements, and power conditioning characterization. The significance of the testbed is that it will serve as a permanent asset for both the NIST core mission of measurement science and the measurement needs of the evolving SG industrial community.
Objective: To develop an advanced, multi-mode interacting measurement testbed to facilitate implementation and characterization of smart grid interoperability and performance by 2014.
What is the new technical idea? NIST presently lacks laboratory facilities for empirical measurement and research related to the smart grid beyond a few elements such as phasor measurement unit calibration and time synchronization. The new idea is that an interacting multi-mode measurement and characterization testbed facility will allow measurements necessary for end-to-end and system-level characterization of smart grid performance and interoperability. Eventually the testbed will allow the full characterization of a future NIST campus-scale microgrid.
The NIST SG Testbed Facility will address the need for accurate measurement and secure communications in the U.S. smart grid, including smart microgrids. The evolving national smart grid will incorporate advanced sensors and be capable of accommodating two-way power transmission to enable the integration of widely distributed renewable-energy generators and electric vehicle loads, as well as the large-scale energy storage required to mitigate the intermittency of renewables. Specifically, the Smart Grid Testbed will:
- Enable NIST to empirically address measurement science challenges relating to smart grid performance and interoperability not being adequately addressed by industry and universities, including (but not limited to)
- Phasor measurements
- Precision timing for the grid
- Storage metrology and characterization
- Sensor interface reliability
- Electric power metering accuracy
- Communication system characterization/modeling/security.
- Enhance NIST’s capability to maintain a leading smart grid experimental research role.
The Testbed Facility addresses the present status of inadequate measurement science as the grid evolves from a primarily physical regime to an advanced cyber-physical regime. Its development is necessary to enable and support new cyber-physical functionality to analyze and optimize system-level operations and control technologies, increase wide area situational awareness in transmission and distribution systems, characterize performance of distributed energy resources and microgrids, and integrate automated demand-side energy management.
What is the research plan? The approach is to sequentially plan and install dedicated modules that will implement the above measurement capabilities. The modules will be created in EL assigned space (Basement of Building 220).
The first phase, intended for completion in FY 2013, will see the installation of the residential-size power conditioning unit (PCU)/transverter module (Al Hefner), the synchrophasor/sensor measurement module (Jerry Fitzpatrick), and the cyber security module (Marianne Swanson). This choice reflects the intended emphasis on preparing a technical pathway to a future campus-scale microgrid demonstration. In particular, the PCU/transverter will demonstrate benefits of residential microgrids. The PCU/transverter will undergo conformance testing and measurement science evaluation and then will be interfaced with networking equipment intended for future NIST-scale microgrid demonstrations, including the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF).
In the second phase, starting in FY 2013, implementation will begin on the additional modules: microgrid virtual measurements (TBD), time synchronization (Eric Simmon), electric power metering (Tom Nelson), modeling/evaluation of smart grid communications (Nada Golmie), sensor interfaces (Kang Lee), and energy storage (Yicheng Wang and Jerry Fitzpatrick). There will be a total of nine modules supporting dedicated NIST measurement science projects. A tenth module will be reserved to meet unanticipated and changing needs.
In a future phase that will be developed by the end of FY 2015, the integrated testbed will serve as an on-going resource to the private sector for smart grid standards validation and development of advanced measurements suggested by the evolution of the grid. The testbed will implement network communication by way of a home microgrid protocol and the Building Automation and Controls Network (BACnet) data protocol. BACnet was developed by a NIST-industry collaboration, and is widely deployed in the commercial sector and on the NIST campus for building automation and control networks. The testbed will involve ~ 15 NIST personnel already working on related topics with the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office. Most of these personnel are already involved with NIST’s primary instrument for fulfilling its charge under EISA, viz., the industry-oriented Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP).
The expected major outcomes include
- Facilitation of measurements / standards validation, including after the SGIP is privatized
- Dissemination of measured data
- Complementation of efforts by university and industry researchers on smart grid measurement validation and standards development
- Acceleration of efforts of NIST researchers already working on related topics
- Provision of a permanent facility suitable for full characterization and validation of the evolving smart grid, and particularly, of smart microgrids.
Recent Results: The project is in early planning stage. Initial space (220/A23, A25, A27, A29, and A31) has been assigned. The Plants Division has developed a "Fundable Estimate" for renovation of the above space. A task order for the required renovations has been approved by the Director of the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office, and submitted to the Plants Division for queuing.
October 1, 2012
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