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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Newsletter - September 2020


Draft Smart Grid Framework 4.0 Now Available

The Draft NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 4.0 is now available for download. NIST welcomes your input on its fourth framework which informs America's development of the smart grid.  Notably, Framework 4.0:

  • Updates the smart grid domains, which now include the "Generation with Distributed Energy Resource Domain," and new communication pathway scenarios.
  • Assesses physical interoperability for the smart grid, and the transition from analog to digital systems.
  • Addresses interoperability's potential benefits for all stakeholders.
  • Provides a roadmap leading to smart grid interoperability including testing and certification and Interoperability Profiles.
  • Informs smart grid cybersecurity, detailing approaches to risk management and providing an understanding of specific interface characteristics and security requirements.

Inputs can be sent to smartgridframework [at] nist.gov (). Your input will help NIST produce a final published version of the Framework, as part of its consensus building process. Ultimately, these inputs will help enable us to identify the needs of the smart grid community and promote progress towards meeting America’s energy needs.

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NIST Conducts Virtual Workshop on Automated Driving System Safety

On July 7-8, 2020, NIST conducted its virtual Workshop on ADS Safety Measurement and Operational Design Domain, drawing attendees from industry, government and academia to hear plenary and panel presentations and to participate in facilitated breakout discussions. The workshop continued the ADS stakeholder discussion that began with NIST's first ADS workshop in June 2019 and through meetings of the NIST ADS Safety Measurement and Operational Design Domain Technical Working Group (ODD TWG).

The July 2020 NIST ADS workshop reviewed abstractions needed for a data-driven approach to ADS safety and considered how automated driving safety can be measured, which is critical for public acceptance. One presentation noted that significant data have been gathered on automated driving system performance, but emphasized that the issue at hand is how to relate this data to safety. To assist in meeting this challenge, the workshop considered alternative abstractions, more closely tied to ADS performances, including an Operating Envelope Specification proposed by the NIST ODD TWG. This concept seeks to quantify vehicle safety behaviors, which have only been described in general terms to date. Attendees saw such specifications as enabling testing and serving as a foundation for certification, if it could be made measureable, relevant, and communicable. NIST is planning to publish a workshop summary report and a technical publication describing the Operating Envelope Specification concept.

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NIST and NERC Map Cybersecurity Framework to NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards

NIST's Jeff Marron collaborated with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) personnel on cybersecurity for the North American bulk power system, and mapped NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework, Version 1.1 to the latest NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards. These requirements are designed to mitigate cyber risks to North America’s Bulk Electric System. NERC reported the collaborative mapping in its Standards, Compliance, and Enforcement Bulletin, July 27-August 7, 2020 edition. NERC posted the mapping on its website, which is already receiving stakeholder attention.

In addition, volunteers from the Reliability and Security Technical Committee (RSTC) in the Compliance Input Working Group (CIWG), along with NERC and NIST representatives, collaborated to develop a self-assessment tool. Responsible entities in bulk power can use the tool to identify gaps in their compliance with NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards and in their cybersecurity risk management. The tool will allow bulk power operators to focus resources on closing gaps, also informing fiscal planning.

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University of Antwerp and NIST Initiate Collaboration on Tools for Automated Driving Systems

The University of Antwerp will collaborate with NIST to develop tools for use by industries producing partially or fully automated systems. These tools will be based on NIST advances in the area of cyber-physical systems or IoT, including its Cyber-Physical Systems Framework and emerging concepts like an Operating Envelope Specification for automated driving system safety measurement. The partners will collaborate to implement prototype tools using NIST's co-simulation tool, the "Universal CPS Environment for Federation," or UCEF.

Ensuring the safety of automated systems is a clear industry challenge. Previous testing strategies focused on systems where human operators were involved. However, automation reduces, and may even eliminate, human involvement, demanding new approaches to testing and, ultimately, safety assurance.

Prof. Hans Vangheluwe of the Modeling, Simulation and Design Lab at the University of Antwerp, has agreed to collaborate with NIST cyber-physical systems researchers to install and use NIST's UCEF co-simulation infrastructure and NIST’s Cyber-Physical Systems Framework to develop tools for CPS/IoT design, test, and assurance. This approach has the potential to assist in identifying the range of engineering concerns related to safety. By identifying critical concerns and their interdependencies, developers can more holistically determine and address the full spectrum of engineering requirements.

UCEF's co-simulation infrastructure will further aid automated driving system (ADS) testing and design exploration. UCEF makes possible the evaluation of components and the overall cyber-physical system, or systems-of-systems. UCEF integrates existing, best-in-class simulators, and allows them to interact. In the case of ADS safety, UCEF co-simulations will be structured to assess safety concerns by providing data that help developers and testers address intended system behaviors and identify unintended system behaviors with safety implications.

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SEPA Adds Three Standards to Its Smart Grid Catalog of Standards, Supported by NIST

“Standards are the necessary first step towards interoperability,”-- Aaron Smallwood, SEPA Research

On July 29, 2020, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), supported by NIST funding, reported the addition of three standards to its smart grid Catalog of Standards. The Catalog consists of over 80 national and international standards, and is a key reference for utilities, manufacturers, regulators, consumers, and other stakeholders, who are developing and deploying smart grid technologies. The standards recently added to the Catalog include:

  • IEEE 1547-2018 Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Distributed Energy Resources with Associated Electric Power Systems Interfaces: Ensures distributed energy resources (DER) – solar, wind, electrical storage and more – operate effectively on the grid.
  • IEEE 1815.1-2015 Standard for Exchanging Information Between Networks Implementing IEC 61850 and IEEE Std 1815 (Distributed Network Protocol): Defines rules and methods for exchanging information between networks and sets standards for secure data communications.
  • IEEE 2030.5-2018 IEEE Standard for Smart Energy Profile Application Protocol: Defines standards for end-users' utility management, including demand response, load control, time of day pricing, management of distributed generation, electric vehicles, and more.

The addition of these standards further aids smart grid interoperability, which is also being advanced by NIST’s Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 4.0.

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NIST's Smart Agriculture and Rural Workshop Report Emphasizes Greater Broadband Coverage

In June 2020, NIST released the Global City Teams Challenge Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster Workshop Report 2020, which provides the findings of the February 2020 workshop, with attendees from government, industry, and academia.

Panelists at the workshop described broadband as being similar to electricity in its foundational role, and noted that broadband can help to spread smart technologies, transforming rural areas. Broadband also can enable data analytics for predictive farming, thus reducing its risks and increasing use of robotics to improve productivity. Additionally, broadband can expand tele-health to rural communities needing medical care, a capability that was reported to provide significant results in treating diabetes in rural southwest Georgia.  Broadband can also support educational opportunities in rural areas, including tribal lands.        

Much of rural America lacks adequate broadband coverage, and workshop participants discussed several ideas to support deployment in remote areas, including:

  • Mapping areas needing adequate broadband, thus informing developers and providers
  • Determining user needs in given areas, and informing providers
  • Building public-private partnerships to fund and support broadband expansion
  • Using flexibility and technology options to connect broadband, especially over the last mile
  • Educating consumers on technology
  • Forecasting new technologies that can aid in providing broadband access
  • Using new approaches and funding sources to expand broadband to more users

The report will inform NIST's development of a consensus-based smart cities and communities framework, and will guide widespread smart agriculture and rural initiatives.

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Virtually Attend the Cybersecurity Symposium for Smart Cities, October 14-16, 2020

NIST's Global City Teams Challenge is co-sponsoring the third annual Cybersecurity Symposium for Smart Cities, to be conducted virtually, October 14-16, 2020. Attendance is free, and the Symposium's theme is "One World Together via Technologies." It will showcase the evolving vision of Smart and Secure Cities and Communities, and how secure cyber-physical systems can be achieved through broad public-private partnerships. The event will include high-level speakers from NIST, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, local governments, nonprofits, small business associations, and universities. More information and registration can be found online.

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Created March 12, 2021, Updated September 13, 2021