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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Newsletter - June 2021

Michael Dunaway Onboard as New NIST Global City Teams Challenge Leader

Michael Dunaway joined NIST on June 7, 2021 as Associate Director of Innovation in the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office and leader of NIST's Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC). He has a long record of service, which includes a career in the U.S. Navy; Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate; Director of the University of Louisiana's National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute; and Executive Director of the University of Cincinnati's Digital Futures Resilience Program.

Dunaway's service also includes co-chair of the GCTC's Public Safety SuperCluster, working closely with his predecessor, Sokwoo Rhee – who Dunaway says he is honored to follow – and the leadership of the other eight SuperClusters. Over the last year, this SuperCluster leadership informally met almost weekly via teleconference, said Dunaway, addressing communities' emergent needs in the pandemic and discussing the way forward for the GCTC. There is a lot of enthusiasm for building on the GCTC program’s foundation, he said. Communities and cities seek more than technology integration; they seek data to better inform policy and decision making and ultimately improve their citizens' quality of life. Dunaway also noted the GCTC's uniqueness – it is one of the few community-based bottom-up approaches for meeting our current and future challenges. Michael Dunaway welcomes input and can be contacted at michael.dunaway [at] (michael[dot]dunaway[at]nist[dot]gov).

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NIST's IoT Concept Enables Open and Agile Smart Cities' Product Deployments

Building IoT Systems with Reusable Tools is possible, reported oneM2M, a global IoT standards initiative, consisting of eight standards development organizations in Japan, U.S., China, Europe, India, Korea, and Japan. One approach is determining Pivotal Points of Interoperability, a concept in NIST's Internet of Things-Enabled Smart City Framework and NIST's Cyber-Physical Systems Framework. This involves analyzing two or more IoTs that will work together, and identifying interoperability opportunities, rather than building a unique IoT that may not be scalable and may preclude future innovations.

OneM2M reported that the global network, Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC), adapted the NIST concept to its Minimum Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs), which focuses on IoT interfaces to solve the interoperability challenge. Specifically, MIMs is used to identify minimal technical requirements for sustainable and scalable services. According to OASC's video, the Open and Agile Smart Cities Network piloted a project in which MIMs were integral to the deployment of 50 products and services across 21 cities. The project demonstrated that it is possible to establish a digital single market for IoT services. 

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European Commission's NGI Explorers Program Presents "Best Impact" Award to Collaborative NIST Smart Cities Project

On May 18, 2021, the European Commission's Next Generation Internet (NGI) Explorers’ program awarded an NGI Oscar for Best Project Impact to Martin Serrano of National University of Ireland at Galway for the Scale-Up Key Performance Indicator (KPI). The project is the result of EU-US collaboration between National University of Ireland at Galway and NIST.

The Scale-Up KPI project provides a methodology for assessing the maturity of technologies being considered for the next generation of smart cities, based on holistic KPIs. Similar to technical readiness levels, used by NASA, the Department of Defense, and others to classify a technology's maturity, holistic KPIs would enable measuring "City Maturity Levels." The holistic KPIs can be used for any domain and applied to any city, irrespective of size, location, and characteristics.  

The NGI Explorers Oscars Ceremony recognizes Europe's top innovators. The Scale-Up KPI project was one of five projects receiving an NGI Oscar. The Scale-Up KPI project will be detailed in a forthcoming NIST publication. 

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NIST and University Researchers Assess Transactive Energy for "Virtual Power Plants"

A simulation examined transactive energy, which is a dynamic electricity pricing technique to help balance supply and demand in real time, and its potential to smooth power demand or reduce residents’ power bills. The researchers from Vanderbilt University, NIST, Tennessee Technological University, and Twente University modeled the aggregation of solar photovoltaic, battery, and demand response resources, as “virtual power plants.” This aggregation operated within an electric distribution feeder and relied on dynamic electricity pricing as a primary control signal. The results were published in Transactive Energy and Solarization: Assessing the Potential for Demand Curve Management and Cost Savings on May 18, 2021.

These researchers simulated two power pricing techniques, using real energy consumption and weather data in Sacramento, CA. "Time-of-use pricing" set prices according to a schedule, changing a few times throughout the day. "Real-time pricing" was based on projected power demands for short time periods. Researchers evaluated how these pricing techniques affected demand for grid power from consumers with different combinations of solar panels, generators, and batteries. This included evaluating power bills and how these pricing techniques helped smooth out power demand, as over-generation is a big concern in the power industry. The following summarizes the results:

Effects on Consumers' Power Bills

  • The implemented real-time pricing technique didn't significantly alter prices for consumers.
  • Battery storage had little effect on energy bills of residents without solar panels, but reduced bills for residents with solar panels.
  • Higher solar panel penetration significantly reduced the energy bills of all consumers, including those without solar panels, due to reduced power demand from utilities.

Effects on Power Demand

  • Compared to time-of-use pricing, real-time pricing significantly smoothed power demand, as it helped shift loads before peak usage.
  • Battery storage also helped smooth power demand, as houses with batteries used less grid power during peak hours due to raised prices.
  • Higher solar panel generation capacity reduced grid power demand, especially during mid-day when most solar power is produced.
  • Tuning the parameters of the real-time pricing also greatly smoothed power demand.

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Created September 22, 2021, Updated September 29, 2021