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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Newsletter - May 2019

New Solar Array Powers NIST and Aids Smart Grid Research

NIST cut the ribbon on its new solar array at its Gaithersburg, MD campus, on April 22, 2019, as described in the news release, NIST Celebrates Earth Day with a Massive New Solar Energy Array. The solar array is anticipated to produce 8 million kilowatt-hours, annually, about 4 percent of the campus’s energy use, with an estimated savings of at least $3.5 million over the next 20 years.

NIST’s smart grid research team will also collect real-time performance data from the solar energy array to support smart grid research. This data will allow researchers to study methods for measuring electric grid systems, as they evolve to accommodate new and more diverse resources, such as solar arrays and other customer-sited capabilities, which behave differently from past technologies. Notably, the smart grid team will advance measurement technology and control algorithms for inverters, that convert DC voltage from the solar panels directly into AC power to match the grid. Research on these inverters will inform real-world system development and use.

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NIST's Knoxville and Burlington Workshops Address Smart Grid Testbed Issues

Representatives from industry, academia and government discussed smart grid testbed issues, in workshops at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, April 11, 2019, and at the University of Vermont in Burlington, April 23, 2019. The workshops examined existing testbed capabilities and ways to collaborate. Initially, NIST personnel presented NIST's smart grid testbed capabilities and uniqueness. Academia and industry representatives then presented their testbed initiatives. Breakout sessions followed, with attendees answering these questions:

  • How can testbed collaboration help organizations achieve their goals?
  • What are major gaps and challenges regarding testbed capabilities?
  • What are the elements for successful testbed collaboration?

In plenary sessions, attendees reported that open source tools and platforms are key to enabling collaboration. They said collaboration across domains and business models will likely yield beneficial outcomes. To benefit, though, attendees emphasized that testbeds need validated models to ensure real-world conditions are accurately represented. Additionally, they must overcome the difficulties of sharing data across testbeds and organizations. In Knoxville, attendees also voiced their appreciation for the opportunity that NIST workshops provide to meet and talk and believed more communications and interactions should occur.

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Registration Open for NIST Workshop on Automated Vehicles Safety, June 25-26, 2019

NIST and its partners invite you to attend the June 25-26, 2019 workshop on Consensus Safety Measurement Methodologies for Automated Driving System-Equipped Vehicles, at the NIST Gaithersburg, MD campus. Registration for this workshop is free and available online. NIST is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Intel, Intel Mobileye, Lyft, Ricardo, SAE International, and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on this event.

The automotive industry is targeting early 2020s for deployment of automated vehicles. Reliable, broadly-acceptable performance measurement methods are needed for assessing the safety of automated driving system-equipped vehicles to facilitate the successful achievement of these deployment goals. This workshop includes presentations and breakout sessions, and will explore emerging concepts and paths toward consensus on effective safety measurement methodologies. Workshop goals include:

  • Identifying criteria for automated vehicle decision-making safety
  • Reviewing methodologies for safety requirements and measurement
  • Identifying gaps and key challenges and possible ways to address them
  • Articulating a preferred path to developing automated vehicle safety requirements and testing
  • Exploring opportunities for collaboration across the community

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Smart City Expo Expands with ASEAN Members' Participation and More

At the ASEAN Summit in Singapore last November, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced the “U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership,” supporting Southeast Asia’s digital and urban infrastructure development. Since then, ASEAN members have worked via U.S. Department of State to participate in the Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge Expo at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington DC, July 10-12, 2019. They add to the Expo's growing international contingent.

Hosted by NIST, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the Expo is expected to be the largest U.S. Government-hosted Smart City event. The Expo features over thirty-five speakers, including mayors, industry executives, and association heads. The Expo includes participation from other federal agencies, industry, academia and over 100 cities and communities. Global City Teams Challenge's Action Clusters, or SuperCluster teams, will address key issues, including:

  • Public safety
  • Privacy and cybersecurity for community-based, smart cities
  • Smart agriculture, including more efficient production and movement to market
  • Smart regions, connecting municipalities to regional services

Registration is free, online, and required to attend. An agenda is also online. Subject to availability, the Expo will provide space to organizations, exhibiting and/or demonstrating smart city and IoT solutions, with priorities given to Action Cluster/SuperClusters. For exhibitor requirements, contact meetingsguru [at] (Gale Guerrieri). Speakers and Action Cluster/SuperClusters questions should be directed to sokwoo.rhee [at] (Sokwoo Rhee).

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NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee Meeting, April 2, 2019

The NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee met on April 2, 2019, and reviewed and discussed the reports from the subcommittees and the progress on the stakeholder engagement efforts for the draft NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Framework, Release 4.0. The minutes and presentations are available online. The Federal Advisory Committee's web page provides its charter, members' biographical sketches, as well as, minutes and reports from previous meetings.

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NIST Report: Testing and Certification Programs Needed for Smart Grid Standards

NIST's Review of Smart Grid Standards for Testing and Certification Landscape Analysis, released in April 2019 as NIST Technical Note 2042, highlighted the limited availability of testing and certification programs for smart grid related standards. Testing and certification programs are important because they encourage innovation, boost productivity, reduce or eliminate technical barriers, and thus enhance economic efficiency. And those standards that advance interoperability help maximize operational benefits, while minimizing deployment costs for new equipment. 

The report also points out that testing and certification give confidence that technologies conform to standards. To determine the adequacy of testing and certification programs, NIST analyzed 240 standards from 22 standards development organizations. Of these, 169 standards were found to be functionally related to interoperability (The report lists and describes these standards). Of those only a small percentage have testing and certification (T&C) programs – existing or planned. Specifically, this analysis found:

  • Only 21% of 169 interoperability standards have independent T&C programs.
  • When including 1st and 2nd party activities, only 30% of 169 standards have T&C programs.
  • Physical performance standards are more likely to have T&C programs, but most are not independent.
  • There is no existing or planned path to device certification for most standards.

The report concludes that more programs are needed for testing and certifying standards for smart grid functional areas, and for overall system interoperability.

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NIST Report: Residential Devices May Help Manage Smart Grid

Power generation plants and transmission and distribution operations ensure a stable flow of electricity to customers. Grid operations are now more challenging, with the use of distributed renewable energy resources, as generation varies with wind and sun. Conceivably, grid operations could be aided by the managed and active participation of consumers’ intelligent devices, such as heat pumps, batteries, and electric vehicles. Many of these devices can reduce or shift loads, while some can modulate real and reactive power consumption and production to support grid management.

NIST has researched the ability of residential devices to support the grid, reporting the results in NIST Special Publication 1900-601 titled “Characterization of Residential Distributed Energy Resource Potential to Provide Ancillary Services.” This research assessed 11 residential devices for their ability to provide one or more ancillary services needed for a stable grid. Devices were evaluated with respect to six indicators of capability: 1) flexibility, including the ability to use a device multiple times consecutively at different power levels; 2) fast response, under five minutes; 3) reserves, providing energy between 5-60 minutes; 4) reactive power that a device may produce; 5) availability, the percentage of time a device is fully available to provide some ancillary service; and 6) power level, consumed or produced. Based on these indicators of capability, three scores were developed to express the potential of a device to provide frequency response, reserves and reactive power services. The research revealed the varying potential of different device types to provide these different services, some scoring very low in general, others strong in one area or two, and the battery (as a jack-of-all-trades) performing well in providing all services. The research also estimated the number of devices, of one type, required to respond to a need for grid services.

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NIST Report Offers Ways to Assess Transactive Energy Alternatives

The evolving smart grid is changing how electricity is managed and purchased. Renewable energy – wind, solar – is turning costumers into producers of energy, who can use it to cut their energy costs, and/or sell it back to power companies when they need it. And management technologies, like smart meters, are giving costumers great awareness of energy use and costs. A new concept for managing and purchasing energy is termed, "Transactive Energy." A challenge is how to implement it.

In May 2019, NIST released its Transactive Energy Modeling and Simulation Challenge Phase II Final Report as NIST Special Publication 1900-603. It addresses NIST's Transactive Energy (TE) Challenge, conducted from 2015 to 2018. In phase I, 2015-2016, seven teams identified simulation tools, supported development of a co-simulation abstract component model, and worked on other foundational issues tied to TE simulation, scenarios and service definitions. In phase II, 2017-2018, five teams developed a problem scenario, a common grid topology, and metrics for comparing each team’s approach to simulating the scenario.

The results of this initiative offer the smart grid community ways to assess alternatives for conducting Transactive Energy; these offered assessments include the following:

  • Co-simulation modeling tools and platforms for system performance analysis
  • A scenario that can support ongoing comparative simulations
  • Demonstrated approaches for managing voltage on a distribution grid with photovoltaics

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Created September 13, 2019, Updated January 8, 2024