Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

EL Highlights May 2015

EL Highlights May 2015

Return to Highlight page

Programmatic/Technical Accomplishment

EL Contributes to Release of New Photovoltaic Performance Modeling Collaborative Website

The Photovoltaic Performance Modeling Collaborative has released an updated version of its website that provides a single source of information for correctly modeling the electrical output from arrays of photovoltaic modules. EL has been partnering with several industry and government organizations to transition research results into content for this website. This collaboration, organized by Sandia National Laboratories, serves a broad array of stakeholders, from those who want to learn the basics of solar panel modeling to professionals in the photovoltaic field. Accurately modeling photovoltaic performance is becoming a more important task, as the proliferation of solar installations in the United States has piqued the interest of many people interested in installing solar to reduce utility costs. In particular, new financial arrangements for installation require investors to have confidence in the revenue streams from these systems;therefore, accurate modeling of photovoltaic installations is critical to ensuring funding arrangements prior to their construction. NIST has contributed content on the steps to properly model photovoltaic systems and is currently developing data sets from a number of photovoltaic arrays installed on the Gaithersburg campus that can be used by members of the collaborative to validate their modeling efforts. The website can be accessed at

CONTACT: Matthew Boyd 301-975-6444

NIST Hosts Grid 3.0 Workshop to Prioritize Key Issues for Emerging Grid

Leaders from industry, government, and academia gathered at a March 26-27, 2015, workshop at NIST to identify and develop action plans to address critical challenges facing the electricity sector over the next three to five years. Planned by NIST and six other organizations representing various segments of the electricity sector, the approximately 100 attendees at last month's workshop addressed the following key topics:

  • Enabling New Entrants and Innovation
  • Impact of Technology and Flexible Resources
  • Enhancing Reliability and Resiliency
  • Enabling New and Evolving Markets
  • Architecting the Change
  • Evolving Industry Structure

Keynote speaker Pat Hoffman (Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, DOE) set the stage for the workshop with her keynote address. Additional opening remarks were offered by Chris Greer (Director of the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office, NIST) and Carl Imhoff (Electricity Infrastructure Sector Manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, DOE). The workshop's format—a mix of invited panels and a breakout session—enabled all participants to provide input. Partnering with NIST as sponsoring organizations were the Department of Energy (DOE), Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI),Grid Wise Architecture Council (GWAC), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). Using the information that came out of the workshop, the Grid 3.0Organizing Committee will continue its work to identify the critical actions needed to realize the Grid 3.0 vision. A webinar will be held on May 12, 2015, at 1 p.m.(EDT) to provide an update on the process. More details about the March 26-27, 2015, workshop are available online at, including links to the webcast archive and to the agenda and sessions (including presentations by NIST's Chris Greer, Al Hefner, and Dave Wollman).

CONTACT: David Wollman (EL), ext. 2433

New IEEE Standard Released on Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation

The Standards Board of the IEEE Standards Association recently approved IEEE P1872 "Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation" as an IEEE standard. EL researcher Craig Schlenoff is the chair of the IEEE Ontologies for Robotics and Automation (ORA)Standards Working Group, in which this standard was developed. This new standard defines a core knowledge representation (i.e., ontology) that allows for the representation of, reasoning about, and communication of knowledge in the domain of robotics and automation. The standard ontology includes generic concepts, as well as their definitions, attributes, constraints, and relationships. These terms can be specialized to capture the detailed semantics for concepts in various robotics subdomains.The IEEE ORA Working Group is composed of164 representatives from 23 different countries and includes a cross-section of industry, academia, and government participants. The group will be recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society at the upcoming International Conference of Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May2015.

CONTACT: Craig Schlenoff 301-975-3456

EL Hosts Global City Teams Challenge Tech Jam

Over 250 in-person attendees and hundreds of webcast viewers participated in the Global City Teams Challenge(GCTC) Tech Jam, held at NIST-Gaithersburg on Feb.12-13, 2015. The Challenge, launched in September2014, is a nine-month initiative designed to advance the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies—also called "cyber-physical systems"—within a smart city environment. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) involve connecting smart devices and systems—in diverse sectors such as energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation—in fundamentally new ways. These innovations will enable cities and communities to improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance the quality of life for their citizens. The Challenge has been embraced by more than 40"action clusters," partnerships between cities/communities and innovators/providers. The goal of each action cluster is to accelerate development of an emerging CPS technology and deploy it by June 2015. This month's Tech Jam served as a midpoint check-in for the hundreds of scientists, engineers, and community leaders now actively engaged in the GCTC initiative. In his welcoming remarks at the Tech Jam, Dr. Richard Cavanaugh, Acting Associate Director of Laboratory Programs at NIST, discussed how the Challenge is related to the NIST mission of advancing of measurement science, standards, and technology. He said, "We want to take your particular experiences, find commonalities, and make them useful for others. That's where standards come in. It's critical to develop smart city solutions and models that are interoperable, replicable, and scalable. We want your successes to be reproduced by many cities. "The Tech Jam program featured a dozen keynote presenters and panelists, as well as two breakout and working sessions that allowed GCTC newcomers to introduce themselves and find partners in existing and new action clusters. The energy in the auditorium—as high as it was during the keynote speeches and panels—grew even more palpable during the "lightning rounds." Representatives from more than 35 action clusters (including several new clusters formed at the Tech Jam) gave five-minute presentation son their projects. The firm five-minute limit in which to discuss partners, project plans, and timetables challenged even the most-succinct presenters and inspired participants for their upcoming, four-month sprint to the finish line—the "Global City Teams Challenge Festival," to be held in Washington, D.C. (and perhaps in other cities) in June 2015.Further information, including action cluster project abstracts and a recording of the webcast, is available on the Tech Jam website (

CONTACT: Sokwoo Rhee 301-975-6325


EL Research and Standards Activities Highlighted in Energy Times Executive Energy Briefing

EL's Steven Bushby made an invited presentation about the research and standards development activities of the EL Embedded Intelligence in Buildings program at the Energy Times Executive Energy Briefing on March 19,2015, in Washington D.C. The Executive Energy Briefing is a forum to educate and inform utility and other business executives about a range of energy issues. Bushby described NIST's work to develop measurement science and standards for achieving energy-efficient building operation through integrated building systems and building-to-grid interactions. The worldwide adoption of the Building Automation and Control Network Protocol (BACnet) and the rapidly growing use of Green Button were highlighted as NIST successes. Bushby also participated in a panel discussion on the customer perspective of the changing energy and smart grid environment. This event, sponsored by Penton Media, showcased the importance and impact of NIST's work to the executive audience at the event and to the approximately500,000 subscribers to Penton Media utility and business trade publications, who will be able to view a future webcast of the event.

CONTACT: Steven Bushby 301-975-5873

EL Leads Workshop Preparing for the NIST Transactive Energy Challenge

Transactive Energy (TE), a subject of great current interest in the energy sector, refers to techniques for managing the generation, consumption, or flow of electric power within an electric power system through the use of economic or market-based constructs while considering grid reliability constraints. Members of NIST's SmartGrid Team and EL have been working closely with the Department of Energy and the Grid Wise Architecture Council in recent months to understand TE's potential and to support technology developers and policy makers. To accelerate that process, NIST brought leaders and experts from academia, utilities, ISOs / RTOs, companies, and government labs to Gaithersburg on March 24-25, 2015.The goal of the workshop was to help design a "NIST Transactive Energy Challenge." The Challenge process will involve the formation of teams around key smart grid TE use cases (i.e., the problems) and the use of modeling and simulation to find solutions. The Challenge will speed development of the simulation tools and platforms that will be essential in the coming decade as scientists, engineers, and policy makers explore the impact of alternative ways to create and operate TE systems. Over the next several months, the details of the Challenge will be finalized, and the TE Challenge will be unveiled and announced later this year. Workshop details, including links to PDFs of presentations, are available online ( Monthly Highlights May

CONTACT: David Holmberg 301-975-6450


New ASTM Journal on Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing

ASTM publishing committee has approved the launch of a new journal entitled "ASTM Journal on Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing." The objectives of the journal are to foster transdisciplinary research that crosses the boundaries of information science, systems engineering, engineering design, manufacturing, and product lifecycle with a focus on how to make manufacturing systems smarter and sustainable. The final approval from ASTM Executive Committee selected the Engineering Laboratory's Sudarsan Rachuri as the Founding Editor.

Contact: Sudarsan Rachuri 301-975-4264

Created July 6, 2015, Updated September 21, 2016