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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Newsletter - December 2018

Holiday Greetings from the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems (SG CPS) Team

Our thanks and best wishes to all of our friends, colleagues, and stakeholders, who together helped to make 2018 a year of achievement. We have benefited from a long history of productive interaction and close collaboration with our counterparts in industry, academia, and government at the local, state, and federal levels; and 2018 was no exception. We held twenty workshops and conferences in areas ranging from transactive energy to smart grid cybersecurity with participants from across the full spectrum of smart grid and cyber-physical systems sectors. NIST staff chaired or co-chaired nine working groups, committees, and task forces in areas ranging from federal guidance on R&D for smart cities and communities, to international standards for power demand response.  Our thanks go to all of you who participated and contributed ideas and insights in working together for progress.

NIST researchers expanded technical frontiers in areas ranging from trustworthy systems design to smart sensor interoperability testing and beyond. To ensure that the results of our work are available to the full community of stakeholders, we published thirty-six technical papers, held eight webinars, and expanded our open-source code base of software tools and platforms to more than five million lines of code. Our technical research provides the foundations for our contributions to the development of open, international standards that enable interoperability and innovation. In 2018, we contributed to the advancement of six standards in areas ranging from energy management systems and smart transducers to microgrid controllers and distributed energy resources.  

In 2019, we look forward to building on our 2018 successes. Our research efforts will focus on grid cybersecurity, precision timing, interoperability measurement, and other areas of critical interest to the smart grid and cyber-physical systems communities. We will continue chairing working groups in the Smart Electric Power Alliance, addressing testing and certification, cybersecurity, and building and industrial to grid. Additionally, two of the highlights for 2019 are as follows. 

  • GCTC-Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3) Expo: The Expo will include dozens of city and community teams from around the world, who will share best practices with stakeholders at the Walter E Washington Convention Center, February 20-22, 2019. Registration is online and free.
  • Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability 4.0: Presently, we are using stakeholder inputs to refine and revise our draft Smart Grid Framework 4.0, with a release for public comment planned in mid-2019.

We invite you to read more about our shared accomplishments of 2018 in this newsletter and we look forward to our continued partnership in 2019 as we work to advance smart grids and Internet of Things applications that improve the quality of life for people across the nation and around the world.

Chris Greer, Director, Smart Grid and CPS Program

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A Year of Advancing Standards

IEC 62746-10-1:2018 Systems Interface Between Customer Energy Management System and the Power Management System - Part 10-1: Open Automated Demand Response: This standard specifies how to implement a two-way signaling system, between utilities and customers, thus allowing utilities to adjust the grid's load, based on demand. NIST's David Holmberg and Steve Bushby presented research to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), aiding this US standard's acceptance as an international one.  

IEC 62746-10-3:2018, Systems Interface Between Customer Energy Management System and the Power Management System - Part 10-3: Open Automated Demand Response – Adapting Smart Grid User Interfaces to the IEC Common Information Model: Related to the previous standard, IEC 62746-10-3:2018 defines the interfaces, as well as, the messaging for this two-way signaling system. NIST's Holmberg and Bushby also facilitated this international standard's acceptance.

IEEE 21451-001-2017 Recommended Practice for Signal Treatment Applied to Smart Transducers: This guide supports the ability to uniformly processing and classifying data from sensors and actuators in a smart system. The standard enables a common interpretation of data and grid interoperability. NIST personnel served on this standard's working group, providing NIST research on sensors and actuators.

IEEE 2030.7-2017 Standard for the Specification of Microgrid Controllers: This standard established requirements for controllers, used to sense and manage microgrids. These requirements inform the manufacturing of controllers, and ultimately enable grid interoperability. NIST funding aided this standard's development.

IEEE 2030.8 Standard for Testing Microgrid Controllers: This testing standard helps verify that microgrid controllers meet these requirements, and, thus, will work as intended. NIST funding aided this standard's development.  

IEEE 1547-2018 Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Distributed Energy Resources with Associated Electric Power Systems Interfaces: This standard ushers in a new era of improved performance for distributed energy resources, connected to the grid. NIST funding aided this standard's development.

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Stakeholders Across U.S. Contribute to Smart Grid Framework in Workshops

In a June 2018 webinar, NIST staff overviewed the status of the ongoing development of the next NIST interoperability framework for smart grid standards -- an effort that greatly depends on stakeholder inputs. To focus and stimulate inputs, NIST personnel provided stakeholders with an updated conceptual model of the smart grid and a new, proposed ontology or common terminology for the smart grid. These, and the facilitated discussions in the following workshops, enabled stakeholders to contribute to the forthcoming Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability.

Workshop on Testing and Certification. Testing and certification is a key element needed to ensure smart grid interoperability. In this workshop, stakeholders helped to identify:

  • Limitations in testing and certification for the smart grid;
  • Essential elements for testing and certifying smart grid interoperability; and
  • Priority for testing and certifying operational interfaces.    

Regional Workshops Identifying Interoperability Issues. These regional workshops were held in Georgia, Indiana, California, and Rhode Island. In each, NIST personnel briefed stakeholders on a conceptual smart grid model for the region, with four different high-level communications architectures -- or communications pathway scenarios -- and their interfaces. In facilitated discussions, stakeholders helped to identify some of the most important interfaces for grid modernization, and also discussed and addressed a variety of interoperability concerns.  

Workshop Shaping Smart Grid Cybersecurity. Prior to the workshop, NIST provided stakeholders with an opportunity to review a draft description of a smart grid cybersecurity risk profile. In the workshop, industry and government personnel addressed cybersecurity threats and risks. In breakout sessions, stakeholders provided inputs on:   

  • Lessons from other sensor networks;
  • Risk profiles for grid architectures and services; and
  • Securing new communications architectures.

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Global Collaboration Enables Smart City Framework

In 2018, Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) continued to engage smart city leaders from around the world, in venues including Washington DC; Porto, Portugal; Portland, OR; Lafayette, IN; San Jose, CA; and Gaithersburg, MD. The GCTC’s "Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge" organizes communities, industry and academia in teams, called Action Clusters and SuperClusters, and its focus this year is on cybersecurity and protection for citizens’ privacy. A major product of the NIST-led smart cities and communities’ global collaboration was the Internet-of-Things-Enabled Smart City Framework, designed to help implement smart cities faster.

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Would You Bet Your Life on the IoT? Workshop on IoT Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is a key cross-cutting grouping of CPS/IoT concerns, as described in NIST's Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems, which states, "There is an urgent need for emphasis on security, privacy, safety, reliability, and resilience, and corresponding assurance for pervasive interconnected devices and infrastructures."

To address these concerns, NIST conducted the workshop "Reasoning about IoT Trustworthiness" in September 2018. Stakeholders in industry, government and academia discussed a proposed formalized reasoning approach to trustworthiness, particularly relating to designing and building larger and more complex CPS systems. This formalized approach also seeks to reveal dependencies and tradeoffs between trustworthy concerns of security, privacy, safety, reliability, and resilience.

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Launched in 2018: Software for Testing Connected Cyber-Physical Systems

"The research and development challenges to create a smart world are enormous," states Internet of Things – From Research and Innovation to Market Deployment. Testing one cyber-physical system, dubbed a "federate" is challenging. Consider several connected CPS, termed a federation.

In September, NIST released a software toolset for CPS federation testing -- the Universal CPS Environment for Federation," or UCEF, BETA -- with webinars informing use. UCEF BETA incorporated lessons from previous versions and other improvements. Developers can use UCEF BETA to test multiple CPS, designed for different domains, to determine how well they will operate together. UCEF is an open-source toolset designed to be reproducible, scalable and usable on any computing platform. To become part of the testbed community and learn how to use UCEF, visit the UCEF Collaborative Site and join the ucef+subscribe [at] (UCEF Mail List).

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NIST Helps Stakeholders Understand Peer-to-Peer Energy

What if customers could buy electricity when costs are low? The reality is, the cost of electricity varies minute-by-minute. For example, costs are higher in the afternoon and early evening. And, what if customers could sell stored electricity from solar panels when power companies needed it? NIST and a broad range of stakeholders have explored the concept of an emerging grid market structure, called "Transactive Energy." From 2015-2017, in the Transactive Energy Challenge Phase I, NIST and stakeholders developed a co-simulation and a common scenario. Between 2017-2018, in the Transactive Energy Challenge Phase II, teams used the simulation and scenario to evaluate different approaches to Transactive Energy. This initiative enabled a comparison between different approaches, facilitated a shared understanding of co-simulation, and provided tools for further development of Transactive Energy and its simulation. The NIST Technical Note, Transactive Energy Challenge Phase II Scenario, is online.

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Created May 17, 2019, Updated January 8, 2024