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Smart Grid Update Newsletter June 2014


NIST Smart Grid Update e-newsletter

June 2014

NIST to Launch Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group with June 30 Webinar

NIST is establishing a Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group (CPS PWG) to help define and shape key aspects of CPS to accelerate its development and implementation within multiple sectors of our economy. The CPS PWG will bring together a diverse set of technical stakeholder communities, including industry, academic, and government R&D experts working on existing and planned cyber-physical systems.

The first meeting of the CPS PWG will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014, 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT via webinar. The CPS PWG is open to all interested participants, and participation is free. Participants must register online in advance.

Cyber-physical systems—also known as "smart" systems or the Internet of Things—are co-engineered interacting networks of physical and computational components. These systems are at the heart of our critical infrastructure and form the basis of our future smart services. They promise increased efficiency and interaction between computer networks and the physical world, enabling advances that will bring a wide range of socio-economic benefits.(See related article below, "SmartAmerica Expo Showcases Internet of Things.")

CPS stakeholders have identified the need to develop a consensus definition, reference architecture, and a common lexicon and taxonomy. These will facilitate interoperability between elements and systems, and promote communication across the breadth of CPS stakeholders. As these concepts are developed, it is critical to ensure that timing, dependability, and security are considered as first-order design principles.

With this in mind, the four initial workgroups of the CPS PWG will cover the following areas:

  • Definitions, Taxonomy, and Reference Architecture
  • Use Cases
  • Timing and Synchronization
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy

The agenda for the June 30 meeting includes an overview of the NIST CPS PWG, working group websites and logistics, and overviews of each of the four subgroups, followed by audience questions and answers and concluding remarks.

SmartAmerica Expo Showcases Internet of Things

The SmartAmerica Challenge—launched last December by two of NIST's Presidential Innovation Fellows, Geoff Mulligan and Sokwoo Rhee—culminated June 10-11 in a high-profile event at the White House and the DC Convention Center.The SmartAmerica Summit and Expo featured project presentations and demonstrations by 24 teams composed of scientists and engineers from over 100 industrial, academic, and governmental organizations.The purpose of the event was to showcase the tremendous potential benefits of cyber-physical systems (CPS).

"Cyber-physical systems, also called the Internet of Things, are the next big advance for our use of the web," wrote Chris Greer, Director of NIST's Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program, in this Department of Commerce blog article about the event."They allow complex systems of feedback and control that can help a robot coordinate with a dog or human in a search-and-rescue operation or help health care providers evaluate the recovery of patients after they leave the hospital."

The benefits of the Internet of Things are expected to include the creation of new jobs, growth of new businesses, and improved quality of life in sectors as diverse as transportation, health care, energy, disaster relief, and manufacturing.

The smart grid is frequently cited as a leading example of the Internet of Things.So it's no surprise that the smart grid community participated enthusiastically in the SmartAmerica Challenge, and a number of the projects were energy related:

NIST staff from the Information Technology Laboratory were participants in the Closed Loop Healthcare project.This project demonstrated how an in-home health monitoring and alert system could be integrated with interconnected, interoperable components in the hospital to create a cohesive stream of patient-specific health information.

More details about all 24 projects are available on the SmartAmerica website. The next phase of the SmartAmerica effort is the Global Cities Challenge, to be launched by NIST this fall and focused on bringing together innovators and city planners to speed the deployment and lower the costs of interoperable smart city deployments.

NIST will also be playing a role in the future of the Internet of Things, and an important next step is the first meeting, on June 30, of the Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group (see article above).

Green Button Implementation Gains Momentum

Two big announcements in recent weeks highlight the increased acceptance and implementation of Green Button across the energy sector, and NIST and its Smart Grid team are continuing to make important contributions to the effort.

As described in this March 2012 article, NIST provided the leadership that helped the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel's (SGIP) PAP10 (Standard Energy Usage Information) lay the groundwork for this highly visible and successful initiative. In recent months, NIST's Dave Wollman, along with NIST consultant Marty Burns and Presidential Innovation Fellows John Teeter (NIST) and Matt Theall (DOE), have continued to drive progress on a number of fronts. They have been working closely with other Green Button proponents in federal agencies, state public utility commissions, utilities, and standards organizations, and with energy service providers and app developers. As Green Button moves into the marketplace, consumers are starting to reap benefits.

One of the first groups seeing benefits will be American taxpayers, because the Federal Government is embracing Green Button technology as a key element of its plans to improve energy efficiency and sustainability.

On May 28, at a White House-sponsored "Datapalooza" event, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and OSTP Director John Holdren announced a successful federal pilot applying Green Button to help building managers achieve greater efficiencies. GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said, "Creating a more sustainable government is vital to our mission and drives the agency's priorities. As one of the largest real estate managers in the country, adopting Green Button technology across our real estate portfolio allows us to improve building performance and save taxpayer dollars."

For this pilot project, the General Services Administration (GSA), with the support of the NIST and the Department of Energy, worked with private-sector partners Schneider Electric, Pepco Holdings, and FirstFuel Software to demonstrate the opportunity for building managers to use innovative tools to manage energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) will use the results of this pilot to develop government-wide guidance, and the EPA is working to integrate the Green Button standard into its EnergyStar benchmarking tool. With these strong endorsements of the Federal Government on its behalf, Green Button implementations in the marketplace are likely to accelerate in the coming months.

Green Button's second major announcement came on June 20, when a public-private partnership unveiled a Green Button Test and Certification Program, which will help ensure interoperability of the broad range of Green Button deployments across the nation. The partnership members include UCA International Users Group (UCAIug), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Department of Energy (DOE), and NIST.

UCAIug stated that it will certify Green Button in two categories:

  • The first category represents service providers such as utilities (public, municipal, and co-operatives) and energy efficiency organizations who provide data to energy consumers.
  • The second category includes product vendors who provide Green Button software solutions to service providers. (Service providers require certification even if they use a vendor's product offering that has been separately certified.)

In an important first step for the new program, UCAIug announced that it has completed a trial run for the Green Button Download My Data Certification. Two implementations of the UCAIug Green Button Test and Certification process for Download My Data have now been completed and one is pending:

  • Seattle City Light is the first Electric Utility to receive certification.
  • The Schneider-Electric Energy Profiler Online (EPO) product is the first commercial software product to receive certification.
  • Wake Electric is working with UCAIug to certify its Green Button program.

The design of Green Button Connect My Data Certification is currently under way, with target Certification of Green Button machine-to-machine Connect My Data to occur in late 2014.

Green Button Certification is an essential underpinning of the national Green Button initiative. In the certification's absence, non-interoperable implementations will result in customer and vendor frustration and additional support costs for parties exchanging data, making data use difficult.

Additionally, a reliable certification mark will allow a robust ecosystem of data providers and users to grow, which will help consumers optimize the efficiency of their energy usage and better manage their energy cost.

For more information on Green Button, visit

For more information on the White House's Datapalooza announcements, visit

For more information on the Green Button testing and certification program, visit

SGIP Update

Comings and Goings

  • Patrick D. Gallagher, NIST Director and Acting Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce, left his federal government positions earlier this month to become the Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, effective August 1.
  • Willie E. May is now serving as acting Director of NIST.
  • Bruce H. Andrews has been named Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce.
  • George Arnold, who was the first Director of the NIST Smart Grid Program (2009-2013) and then Director of the Standards Coordination Office (2013-2014), retired from NIST earlier this month. He is now CEO at Tercio Solutions.
  • David Wollman, Deputy Director of NIST's Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program, is now serving on the SGIP Board of Directors in NIST's ex officio seat.
  • NIST's three Presidential Innovation FellowsGeoff Mulligan, Sokwoo Rhee, and John Teeter—have this month completed their 12-month "tour of duty" at NIST. Rhee and Teeter are continuing on at NIST as employees in the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program.
  • Jeffrey Mazer retired this month from the NIST Smart Grid Program, where he had been responsible for the Testbed Project and the Framework 3.0 Project.
  • Joseph Wu, a Stanford University undergraduate student who is participating in NIST's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, is working on Ya-Shian Li-Baboud's Precision Timing for Smart Grid Systems Project. He will design and implement a software application to visualize and demonstrate the effects of clock offset, drift, and jitter on phasor measurements.
  • Jennifer Sandoval, a SURF student from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, is working with Allen Goldstein and Jerry FitzPatrick on the Wide Area Situational Awareness (WASA) Project on interfacing a prototype disturbance recorder with the NIST phasor measurement unit (PMU) measurement system. She will then test the accuracy of the device using well-characterized standards.
Created June 24, 2014, Updated June 27, 2023