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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems - December 2020

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

The year 2020 was one of challenge and commitment for all. While the SG CPS team spent much of the year physically separated, it was united in purpose and public service. The team’s efforts this year resulted in many advances in its core program areas – smart grid, smart cities and communities, and cyber-physical systems/Internet of Things. These advances, and those to come, support the quality of life and economic and environmental well-being of all in society. Thank you for taking the time to review these accomplishments and especially for the opportunity to serve. From all of us in the NIST SG CPS team, we wish you and your families a safe and joyous holiday and a New Year that exceeds our hopes and expectations.

Chris Greer, SG CPS Director

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Smart Grid Advances in 2020

Draft Smart Grid Interoperability 4.0 Framework Released for Comments, Final in 2021

The draft Framework offers concepts for improved grid interoperability, enabling more effective use of renewable energy resources and greater economic benefits for energy providers and users. The Framework details ways to achieve this interoperability, including possible communications means, common terms, and more. NIST is using public comments to finalize the Smart Grid Interoperability Framework, to be published in early 2021.

Enabling Cybersecurity for North American Bulk Power System

NIST and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) personnel collaborated on cybersecurity for the North American bulk power system. Together they mapped NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework, Version 1.1 to NERC's Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, and developed a tool to examine the relationships between the cybersecurity best practices described in the NIST Framework with the cybersecurity requirements detailed in the NERC standards. The spreadsheet mapping tool is available on NERC’s "One-Stop Shop" webpage for its Compliance, Monitoring & Enforcement Program.

Standards Developed for Distributed Energy Resources on the Grid

The IEEE established the 1547-2018 standard for distributed energy resources to properly operate on the grid. To verify conformance with the standard, NIST personnel helped develop a testing methodology now in IEEE 1547a-2020. They also helped define the functionality needed for these resources to operate on the grid in abnormal and normal conditions, now published in IEEE 1547a-2020.

A Smart Grid Interoperability Guide for Regulators

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners published the Smart Grid Interoperability: Prompts for State Regulators to Engage Utilities. The prompts help regulators investigate interoperability issues when reviewing utility proposals. NARUC's online Interoperability Learning Modules also support this investigation. NIST assisted NARUC in developing the prompts and modules.

Economic Benefits of Smart Grid Interoperability Detailed in NIST Pub

The smart grid's many potential benefits, from local to global levels, depend on interoperability, as described in the NIST Special Publication 1900-604 Economics of Interoperability in the Context of Smart Grid Architectures. The report also explains that the more barriers that exist to grid interoperability, the greater will be the grid's transaction costs, and it identifies a need to translate interoperability definitions into product development.

A Catalog of Test Programs for Smart Grid Standards Based on NIST Research

The SEPA Catalog of Test Programs for smart grid-relevant Standards lists available test programs to ensure products conform with standards. The Catalog is based on NIST's Review of Smart Grid Standards for Testing and Certification Landscape Analysis. Also, SEPA recently added three standards to its NIST-funded smart grid Catalog of Standards. The catalogs further advance smart grid interoperability.

A Common Language for Buying Smart Grid Items

To help suppliers and purchasers speak the same language regarding smart grid items, the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium published the Reference Interoperability Procurement Language. The language was developed with SEPA’s Testing and Certification Working Group, led by NIST personnel. The language aids upfront integration, avoiding costly integration after buying.

A Guide for Integrating Buildings with the Smart Grid

Produced by a working group led by NIST personnel, ASHRAE published Smart Grid Application Guide: Integrating Facilities with the Electric Grid. The Guide helps building professionals understand the smart grid's ongoing transformation and the opportunities it offers. Notably, it helps users understand changing regulations and grid services and develop expertise in building and grid interactions.

A New Way to Mitigate Too Much Power on the Grid

The electrical distribution system now with multiple power sources – solar, wind and more – can produce power that "overshoots" needs, thus damaging sensitive electronics and making the grid less stable. NIST and University of Vermont researchers developed a new approach to mitigating overshoots, the "Reference Governor with Dynamic Constraints." It is a first step towards improving grid stability.

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Smart Cities and Communities Advances in 2020

Blueprint for Smart Buildings – the Building Blocks for Smart Cities and Communities

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) published Smart Buildings: A Foundation for Safe, Healthy & Resilient Cities. Using data and artificial intelligence, smart buildings can adjust lighting, temperatures, and communications for users. They also can make maintenance more efficient, lower operating costs, and reduce greenhouse emissions. Additionally, the blueprint details how smart buildings can interface with city infrastructure.

Ways to Close the "Digital Divide" in Rural America

The GCTC's Global City Teams Challenge Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster Workshop Report 2020  focuses on closing gaps in broadband coverage, which is critical to communities' well-being. It provides an understanding of the importance of mapping areas needing broadband, thus informing providers; determining user needs in given areas; building public-private partnerships to fund broadband expansion; using technology options to connect broadband; and forecasting new technologies that can aid broadband access.

Helping Smart Cities and Communities Counter Threats to Supply Chains

The GCTC's Guidance for Smart Cities and Municipalities Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management recommends best practices, including that acquisition officials determine if vendors can limit access to information systems to only authorized users, and secure sensitive information like citizens' credit card data. Additionally, the guidance recommends understanding a vendor's plans for incident response and risk mitigation.

Helping Smart Cities and Communities Manage Ransomware Risks

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) published A Starting Point for Smart Cities and Communities on Managing Ransomware Risk. The Guidebook helps cities and communities develop processes for responding to ransomware attacks; technical controls for combating ransomware; and education and training for leadership, employees, and constituents.

Smart Technologies for Public Safety Concepts

NIST Special Publication (SP) 1900-203 Global City Teams Challenge Public Safety SuperCluster Progress Report 2018-2019 reported on technologies that could aid first responders, based on a simulated response to an active shooter. Such technologies could enhance situational awareness and improve training. The report noted the need for cybersecurity and interoperability standards in these situations.

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Cyber-Physical Systems and Automated Driving System Advances in 2020

A New Way to Integrate Simulators and Test an Internet-of-Things

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) or Internet-of-Things (IoT) can be interconnected systems-of-systems. Determining whether an IoT/CPS will work as intended can be assisted by co-simulation – modeling the components of the system together. A method for assessing IoT performance is offered in NIST's Integrating a Network Simulator with the High Level Architecture for the Co-Simulation of Cyber-Physical Systems. NIST researchers used this method to integrate multiple smart grid simulators.

Metrics for Quantifying and Measuring Automated Driving Safety

A NIST-led technical working group, comprised of attendees from industry, government and academia, developed the "Operating Envelope Specification." It quantifies intended vehicle safety behaviors and more generally autonomous systems behavioral competencies. Technical working group members see such specification as key to enabling testing and certification of automated driving systems. Prior to the July 2020 NIST workshop on Automated Driving System Safety, the technical working group focused on workshop planning and standards activity focused on providing a usable and comprehensive approach to safety measurement. A NIST report describing the Operating Envelope Specification concept is forthcoming.

Decision Support for CPS and IoT Applications

NIST Researchers applied the Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems to supporting decisions regarding tradeoffs and system competence in applications such as the smart grid. This is exemplified in Decision Support for Smart Grid: Using Reasoning to Contextualize Complex Decision Making (IEEE/MSCPES 2019 Proceedings). System trustworthiness is of particular importance. Dashboards for assessment are provided in "Reasoning about Trustworthiness in Cyber-Physical Systems Using Ontology-Based Representation and ASP" (to be published). Software for reasoning about system behavior competence and trustworthiness and a NIST report are forthcoming.

Evidence-Based Testing for CPS Interoperability

A NIST cross-laboratory team developed an evidence-based approach to testing interoperability of cyber-physical systems and IoT and applied it to Smart Grid sensors. This work provides an alternative method for testing Smart Grid interoperability. By regarding system ‘state changes’ as evidence for successful communications and using the information exchanged, one can assess, even automatically, interoperability. NIST is preparing a report on this work, A Methodology for Modeling Interoperability for Smart Sensors in Smart Grids, and on how it can be applied to general CPS and IoT.

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Created September 13, 2021, Updated September 16, 2021