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

Upcoming Regional Workshops: NIST and NARUC Plan Framework 4.0 Regional Workshops in Georgia, Indiana, California, and Rhode Island (September-November 2018)

NIST is updating its Framework for Smart Grid Interoperability, and is seeking your input and feedback. As the electricity industry makes strides in adopting diverse distributed energy resources (DERs), internet-connected devices, and other advanced technologies, ensuring these devices will be able to communicate and operate in relation to one another is critical. Utilities, regulators, and technology providers need to have a working understanding of system architecture, functions, and economics to guide efficient and effective grid modernization.

In fall 2018, NIST, in partnership with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), is holding four one-day regional meetings to gather input from stakeholders on the updated Framework to ensure it reflects industry expertise and local visions for the future grid. At these roundtables, the value/benefits of grid interoperability, the impacts of interoperability on grid operations and economics, and approaches in advancing interoperability will be discussed. To drive discussion in these areas, each region will reflect on one of the four proposed grid composition scenarios (architectures), which capture relationships between the generation, transmission, and distribution systems and their components. The four scenarios differ depending on the level of smart grid device adoption.

Further details and registration information are now available for the regional meetings, which will be held on:

Each meeting will focus on examining one conceptual model relevant to each region, followed by a panel composed of local stakeholders, and a discussion with all attendees regarding interoperability and the most important interfaces to grid modernization.

On November 13-14, 2018, NIST will also host a workshop at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Rockville, Maryland, on the Smart Grid Interoperability Framework and Cybersecurity. Stay tuned to the next Smart Grid Program newsletter for more details.

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Upcoming Workshop: Reasoning About IoT Trustworthiness (Gaithersburg, MD, September 13, 2018)

NIST will host a workshop on September 13, 2018, on methods and technologies for reasoning about IoT trustworthiness. The free workshop—to be held at the NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland—will feature presentations and discussions about current research on the NIST Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) Framework, framework modeling, and formalizing reasoning about CPS models.

“Trustworthiness,” as defined in the CPS Framework, encompasses the concerns of security, privacy, safety, reliability, and resilience—concerns that are too often addressed separately and in isolation in risk management approaches. As a result, activities intended to address one of these concerns may adversely impact activities to address one or more of the other concerns. (The overall concept of trustworthiness was introduced in the CPS Framework and explored during a 2016 workshop, Exploring the Dimensions of Trustworthiness: Challenges and Opportunities.)

The upcoming workshop on September 13 will extend the trustworthiness discussion by looking at topics related to design for, and study of, IoT trustworthiness. Consider, for example, one of the challenges associated with conceiving, designing, building, and assuring increasingly larger and more complex CPS and IoT systems—namely, requirements in CPS models can take many, apparently inequivalent, forms. Careful reasoning about these requirements and models, however, allows one to assess their logical equivalence and thus allows one to determine whether or not the CPS model meets the concerns of its stakeholders. This formalized reasoning approach can reveal dependencies and tradeoffs between concerns.

For a more detailed description of the workshop—and to register for the workshop—please visit the workshop webpage.

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Upcoming Webinar: Universal CPS Environment for Federation (UCEF) BETA Release (September 14, 2018, 11:00 a.m. EDT)

NIST will host an hour-and-a-half-long webinar—from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., EDT, on September 14, 2018—to present the next release of the Universal CPS Environment for Federation (UCEF). This new release (our BETA version) incorporates lessons learned through early usage and adds several substantial components to the UCEF repertoire—LabVIEW, GridlabD, Omnet++, and COA. These are in addition to native Java and C++ applications. The BETA version also features a universal gateway component that was developed to facilitate integration of domain-specific tools used in cyber-physical systems (CPS).

The webinar will be open to the first 100 participants to log in or call in. To join the webinar by computer, please go to To join by telephone, please call 1(408)650-3131 and use the access code (32557933#).

The UCEF development team has been hard at work this past year, readying a release of the UCEF Virtual Machine for general use in constructing simulations integrating tools from best of breed simulation environments, native languages, and hardware emulators and hardware in the loop. Developed through a collaboration between NIST and Vanderbilt University, UCEF has been infused with the knowledge and experience of a decade of research on collaborative experimental platforms.

Developers who attended the workshop that introduced the ALPHA version last summer were able to install the UCEF Virtual Machine and begin developing a collaborative experiment run that same day with 25 participating laptops over a local WiFi network. Those who participate in the upcoming September 14 webinar, or view the archived version when it becomes available, should be equally well prepared to explore the BETA version.

UCEF meets an important need of the CPS community. CPS contain co-engineered, interacting networks of physical and computational components from many different technology domains. Each of these domains (e.g., smart grid, smart cities, smart manufacturing, smart transportation, smart home, etc.) has technologies and simulation engines tailored to its individual needs and experiences.

CPS experimentation, therefore, often requires the integration of these heterogeneous, domain-specific tools into a common co-simulation platform. UCEF is an open-source tool set that is designed to be integrative, reproducible, scalable, and usable, thereby addressing various challenges and concerns that currently limit CPS experimentation and research.

For a high-level overview of UCEF, please visit the UCEF webpage. If you would like to know more technical details, download the UCEF tool set, become a part of the CPS testbed community, and learn how to work with UCEF, you will want to visit the UCEF Collaborative Site.

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Recent Conference: Global City Teams Challenge’s (GCTC) Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3) Tech Jam (June 20-22, 2018)

Over 250 attendees joined the GCTC-SC3 Tech Jam in Portland, Oregon, with participation from over a dozen cities including Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Vancouver (Canada), Hong Kong (China), Galway (Ireland), Tel Aviv (Israel), Saitama (Japan), and Seoul (Korea).

The opening session featured federal keynotes by Chris Greer (NIST) and Scott Tousley on behalf of Doug Maughan (Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, DHS S&T), followed by a panel of experts from industry and the City of Portland. Each of the seven SuperClusters (Agriculture and Rural, Data, Education, Public Safety, Transportation, Utility, and Wireless) and one interest group (Smart Buildings) then gave Lightning Talks.

Later that morning during a panel on cybersecurity and privacy, Scott Tousley (DHS S&T) and Lan Jenson (Adaptable Security) presented a plan to create to create a “Cybersecurity and Privacy Advisory Committee (CPAC)” in GCTC-SC3. The goals of CPAC will be:

  • To identify and apply cybersecurity and privacy standards to ensure that smart cities and communities are digitally resilient.
  • To develop a supporting framework, leveraging continuous feedback and improvement.
  • To support SuperCluster and action cluster development of domain/local solutions.

CPAC will be composed of the cybersecurity/privacy experts embedded in each SuperCluster, and it will coordinate the cybersecurity/privacy activities and blueprints of SuperClusters. CPAC will also build up capacity to help SuperClusters that are currently lacking expertise in cybersecurity and privacy.

The second day began with a keynote by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Kevin Martin, the city’s innovation director, described how Portland’s smart city initiative had first started with its participation in the GCTC 2015 round. That initial GCTC action team catalyzed a series of follow-up activities and wins, including becoming one of the seven finalists in the recent Smart City Challenge sponsored by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). (Columbus, Ohio, was the winner of that challenge, receiving a pledge of up to $40 million from USDOT. Columbus has also been very actively involved in GCTC for a number of years.)

Over the course of the three-day workshop, speakers included representatives from 25 action clusters, as well as other federal agencies, other countries, cities, industry, academia, and non-profits.

Slides from many of the TechJam presentations slides can be found at For more information about GCTC-SC3, action clusters, and SuperClusters, visit the GCTC collaboration website.

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Recent Workshop and Conference: Testing and Certification Workshop (July 9) and Grid Evolution Summit (July 9-12, 2018)

As part of the SEPA Grid Evolution Summit, the NIST Smart Grid Program held a July 9 workshop focused on the increasingly important role that testing and certification (T&C) will play in achieving interoperability for the modern grid. During the workshop, NIST staff presented an overview of the T&C landscape for smart grid interoperability standards, which included a review of nearly 250 standards from 13 standards organizations and the availability of (or future plans for) associated conformance certifications. The landscape analysis, soon to be released as a NIST publication (draft version available online), documented the paucity of T&C programs for many of these standards. NIST staff proposed the concept of using “interoperability profiles” (discussed further online) to accelerate the development of T&C programs.  (Slides of many of the workshop presentations are now available online.)

Nearly 50 workshop participants representing stakeholders from across the electricity sector provided helpful feedback during three interactive sessions, endorsing the concept of “interoperability profiles.” This workshop was the first of a series of stakeholder engagement workshops—an important stage in the ongoing development of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Framework 4.0. (See related article above for details about those upcoming workshops.)

This year’s Grid Evolution Summit featured a strong emphasis on two key trends—the emergence of a modernized grid built on greater participation of engaged consumers, as well as greater deployment and integration of distributed energy resources (including rooftop solar, storage, electric vehicle charging, demand response, and other non-wires alternatives). These two trends are also driving NIST’s current development of Release 4.0 of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Framework.

SEPA working groups and tasks forces met on July 12. Among the working groups in which NIST staff play prominent roles are those devoted to Cybersecurity, Grid Architecture, Home/Building/Industry to Grid, Testing & Certification, and Transactive Energy. NIST staff are also providing leadership for two task forces—one on the Energy Services Interface (ESI) and another on Reference Interoperability Procurement Language.  

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Created November 1, 2018