2017 has been a busy and productive year. We’ve made important progress in our focus areas, and our work is furthering the overall NIST mission—to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. This year-end newsletter summarizes a few Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program accomplishments, and provides web links for further reading.
Smart grid and cyber-physical systems are complex systems involving networks that share information, energy, and action. So it’s not surprising that our achievements are only possible through partnership with experts in industry, academia, and government. We benefit greatly from your expertise on these complex issues; thank you for your help and support throughout the year!
This year, I’d like to highlight three groups of colleagues who have been especially helpful:
Looking back at 2017 and ahead to 2018, I’m struck by the acceleration of technology development across the physical and informational realms. Whether the modernization of the electric grid, the growth of smart services in cities and communities, or the expansion of CPS including IoT, we are witnessing transformations that affect every one of us.
Improving the measurement science and control theories underlying these systems is essential to take full advantage of these opportunities and manage the many challenges that are sure to arise. At NIST, we are invigorated by the prospect of contributing our scientific and technical expertise to this effort, and we look forward to working with you to create critical measurement solutions and facilitate the development of useful standards.
We hope and expect that 2018 will be another active and fruitful year for all of us in the smart grid and cyber-physical systems communities. Thanks in advance for your continued involvement and support.
Senior Executive for Cyber-Physical Systems and
Director, Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office
Smart Grid Interoperability Testbed Facility
In 2017, NIST completed construction of and began commissioning of the Smart Grid Interoperability Testbed facility. The testbed enables NIST to accelerate the development of smart grid interoperability standards by addressing the measurement needs of the evolving smart grid community. This facility, with an emphasis on local optimization of grid operations and on microgrids, allows NIST scientists and engineers to test and characterize smart grid interoperability between many different components in many different situations.
The testbed has been designed and built with three key principles in mind:
Many of NIST’s smart-grid-related research programs (further discussed in the sections below) have moved into the testbed and begun active research. Research projects, at present, include the following:
Researchers from the NIST smart grid team presented a panel, “Innovative Research at the NIST Smart Grid Testbed,” at the 2017 Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2017), sponsored by the Power and Energy Society (PES) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in April 2017. Content from the panel’s slide presentations is available online.
Testing and Certification
NIST scientists and engineers are working to increase the prevalence and value of testing and certification programs in the smart grid sector. This represents an important element of NIST’s overall goal to accelerate the implementation of smart grid interoperability standards.
NIST’s Cuong Nguyen chairs the Smart Grid Testing and Certification Community (SGTCC), established originally as a standing committee of the SGIP and now operating as one of SEPA’s technical working groups. In 2017, SGTCC published a 23-page “IPRM User’s Guide,” which contains an overview of the ”Interoperability Process Reference Manual (IPRM)”. The IPRM, which had been published in 2016, is a standard from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) that defines a process for industry stakeholders to procure, test, and certify interoperability between disparate vendors of smart grid products. The “IPRM User’s Guide” contains an overview of the IPRM, guidance for implementing new testing and certification programs, and additional business recommendations for establishing an interoperability testing and certification authority to support the process.
In October 2017, a team from NIST’s smart grid program participated in a week-long interoperability test for a key smart grid standard, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850. This ten-part IEC standard relates to communications networks and systems in substations, and is an important standard for power utility automation. The interoperability test event, often referred to as a “plugfest,” provided an excellent opportunity for North American utilities to see firsthand the performance of IEC 61850 devices and their interoperability with other vendors’ products.
Five members of the NIST team attended the event in person and participated in both the Integrated Applications and Time Synchronization sub-group tests, contributing both commercially available and customized test equipment and software. NIST staff worked closely with industry teams, gaining firsthand knowledge of interoperability and testing challenges related to commercial implementation of IEC 61850 standards. This knowledge will help the smart grid program prioritize research and development activities that are most relevant to industry needs, including improving current test methodologies and future testing and certification efforts. Many of the lessons learned will also be applied in NIST’s recently completed Smart Grid Interoperability Testbed.
Rapid technological change has brought many new advancements, but has also presented some issues to power systems that make accurate energy metering increasingly challenging. In the past, power systems were dominated by linear loads and power generation sources. Power and energy measurement equipment was adequately characterized by use of purely sinusoidal waveforms. Today this simple situation no longer applies. Nonlinear sources and loads—from LED lights and inverters, to phase control and pulse width-modulated motor control for energy-efficient devices—result in a significant presence of non-sinusoidal waveforms in modern power systems, and dramatically alter the measurement landscape.
Early smart meter standards did not test for non-sinusoidal conditions, and so did not necessarily present all real-world conditions needed for verifying meter accuracy in today’s environment. Today, most meters are solid state/smart meters and compute the power and energy digitally, where meter accuracy with non-sinusoidal waveforms is frequently affected by the measurement algorithm implemented in the meter. To address this, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard C12.20-2015, “American National Standard for Electricity Meters—0.1, 0.2 and 0.5 Accuracy Classes,” was published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in April 2017 to add a new set of non-sinusoidal test conditions that match various real-world applications containing harmonics in the waveform.
ANSI C12.20-2015 is the most ambitious and significant update to this standard since its inception in 1998, and will better ensure that the effect of real-world harmonics does not significantly affect revenue metering accuracy, and that billing remains fair to both customer and electric utility. The Smart Grid Program has been strongly involved in this latest edition of the ANSI C12.20, with NIST’s Shannon Edwards having chaired the committee (SC17) that developed this revised standard, while NIST’s Tom Nelson serves both as a member of SC17 and as chair of the main committee overseeing all the ANSI meter standards.
Synchrophasors and Smart Sensors
NIST staff are leaders in the development of smart grid standards that can improve reliability and resilience. Synchrophasor technology provides time-stamped measurements of grid operational status at multiple points across the system. This big-picture view, called wide-area situational awareness, allows grid operators to identify and correct power flow imbalances, thereby greatly improving the reliability and resilience of the grid. This has become especially important in recent years with the proliferation of distributed and variable energy resources.
In 2017, ongoing synchrophasor and smart sensor research in the Smart Grid Interoperability Testbed by NIST scientists and engineers has continued to advance the state of the art and transfer this knowledge to the broader stakeholder community through workshops, publications, and even the creation of new standards. For example, NIST researchers helped improve the “Synchrophasor Measurements for Power Systems” standard (IEEE C37.118.1-2011) by developing an interoperability test method for Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) and testing eight commercial PMUs against the standard. Staying at the leading edge of metrology, NIST also developed interoperability and performance tests for the next generation of grid sensing devices, called Merging Units (MUs). Two commercial MUs have been evaluated, and the interoperability test results were presented anonymously (i.e., without vendor identification) at the 2017 Innovative Smart Grid Technologies conference.
Workshops and meetings hosted by NIST, with partnering organizations, included the following:
Correct time and timing are foundational elements in establishing the communication and orchestration of technologies for accurate and optimal wide-area monitoring, protection, and control in the power industry. A key standard in this area is the “Power Profile for Precision Timing” protocol (IEEE 1588). NIST scientists and engineers have been working with standards organizations to support test and certification capabilities. Dhananjay Anand, Kevin Brady Jr., and Cuong Nguyen developed a hardware and software test harness and played a key role in the time synchronization testing at the IEC 61850 Plugfest (described above in the “Testing and Certification” section). Cuong Nguyen and Ya-Shian Li-Baboud have also been part of the leadership committee involved in the IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP) Power Profile effort.
Workshops and webinars hosted by NIST, with partnering organizations, included the following:
One key finding from these recent workshops is the need for improved timing assurance in future power systems. New applications that improve state estimation and enhance grid responsiveness to rapidly evolving dynamics will depend on more accurate time throughout the system. NIST scientists and engineers are researching means to test and certify that equipment relying on time-synchronized measurement have the capabilities to meet power industry needs into the future. NIST staff are also researching ways to dynamically calibrate time-based measurements to a traceable standard reference.
Just as correct timing and timing behavior are important in power systems, they are also critical in a wide range of cyber-physical systems (CPS) that operate under continuously evolving physical conditions. Therefore, NIST is supporting the development of Timestamp Temporal Logic (TTL), which can be used to specify and formally prove and verify the correct timing and time behavior of CPS applications (see online publication).
Cybersecurity for the smart grid remains a topic of great importance for the electricity sector and for the nation as a whole. In 2017, the NIST smart grid team began research focused on applying system-level cybersecurity guidelines to grid edge devices, and continued to work closely with other collaborators, including the Department of Energy’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems, SEPA’s Smart Grid Cybersecurity Committee (SGCC), and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).
NIST cybersecurity expert Nelson Hastings became the new chair of the SGCC in 2017. The SGCC recommends security requirements, identifies privacy concerns, identifies gaps and challenges, and recommends standards and best practices. Currently, the SGCC is working with SEPA’s OpenFMB Cybersecurity Task Force on a project to secure publish-subscribe communications.
In the emerging area of transactive energy (TE), NIST is bringing researchers and companies with simulation tools together with other grid stakeholders to demonstrate modeling and simulation platforms while applying TE approaches to real grid problems. NIST is leading the “Transactive Energy Modeling and Simulation Challenge” (TE Challenge), which is building a community of TE researchers and demonstrating how market principles and scenarios can be explored with integrity across diverse modeling simulation toolsets.
Recent highlights from this community include the following:
1. Use of the common platform model (developed in Phase I)
2. Use of the shared Challenge Scenario
3. Use of common metrics
Electromagnetic Interoperability Issues
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests are important for enabling smart grid electronic devices to effectively transfer smart grid data. SEPA’s Electromagnetic Interoperability Issues Working Group (EMIIWG), chaired by Donald Heirman under the sponsorship of the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) and co-chaired by NIST’s John Ladbury, published a white paper, ”EMC Test Setups for Smart Grid Devices.” Immunity (surviving interference) tests discussed in this white paper are well known and typically practiced by EMC test laboratories using national and international test method standards, which specify general test setups. The white paper also reviews previous documents prepared by this working group.
Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP)
To provide a forum that brought together the many diverse stakeholders in the complex ecosystem of the electric industry, NIST established the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) in 2009. These stakeholders—including manufacturers, consumers, energy providers, and regulators—have worked as partners with NIST to accelerate the development of secure interoperability standards. After operating several years as a public-private partnership, SGIP evolved to a non-profit private-public partnership (SGIP 2.0, Inc., established in 2013).
In 2017, SGIP 2.0 merged with the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) to create an industry-led organization that combines the portfolios of the two organizations. NIST continues to support this organization’s technical work through NIST staff participation and leadership on key committees and action-oriented technical working groups, as well as through a cooperative agreement grant.
NIST’s ongoing work with this organization in 2017 is reflected in the following highlights:
1. ANSI/NEMA Standards Publication SG-IPRM 1-2016: Smart Grid Interoperability Process Reference
2. ANSI/ASHRAE/NEMA Standard Number: 201p, Facility Smart Grid Information Model (FSGIM)
Cyber-Physical Systems Framework
Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have profound impacts within multiple sectors of our economy—from the smart grid and autonomous vehicles to intelligent buildings and smart cities. Realizing the promise of CPS requires interoperability between components and systems, supported by new reference architectures, a new mathematics of the logical and the physical, and common definitions and lexicons. Addressing the problems and opportunities of CPS requires broad collaboration to develop a consensus around these concepts, as well as a shared understanding of the essential roles of timing and trustworthiness.
In 2017, NIST published the “Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems” as a NIST Special Publication three-volume set (NIST SP 1500-201, -202, and -203). The NIST CPS Framework summarizes the work and conclusions of the CPS Public Working Group, established in 2014 as an open forum of national and international experts from industry, academia, and government. The three documents are available online, free of charge, at the following links: “Volume 1: Overview,” ”Volume 2: Working Group Reports,” and “Volume 3, Timing Annex.”
The CPS Framework is intended to help researchers, designers, and manufacturers (including CPS experts, architects, and practitioners) create new CPS that can work together seamlessly to bridge the physical and computational worlds. The framework provides a CPS analysis methodology for understanding, designing, building, operating, and assuring CPS, including those with multi-domain applications. For further information, please visit the NIST collaboration site.
NIST introduced the CPS Framework to various audiences throughout 2017 in a series of workshops, including the following:
Smart Cities and NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC)
In 2017, NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) focused special attention on “SuperClusters”— multi-city, multi-stakeholder deployments of smart city projects in sectors such as energy, transportation, and public safety. The creation of these multi-team SuperClusters enabled existing GCTC action clusters to work together, thereby increasing the scale and impact of their efforts. By year-end, the following seven groups were meeting regularly, usually by conference call but occasionally in face-to-face meetings:
The goal of these SuperClusters has been to document and promote adoption of real-world examples and best practices among smart city plans and solutions implemented by cities around the world. At the 2017 GCTC Expo—held in August 2017 in Washington, D.C.—five SuperClusters each presented a blueprint/playbook that will help accelerate the development and application of interoperable, standards-based IoT solutions in their sector. Details about the SuperClusters and copies of the blueprints (available for free public download) can be found online.
The 2017 GCTC Expo attracted teams from cities and communities around the world. These cities—in partnership with more than 300 companies, universities, non-profits, and federal government agencies—shared and exhibited their smart city projects. With over 1600 registered attendees, the Expo featured over 190 speakers and more than 90 exhibiting action clusters representing 120+ cities and communities. Keynote speeches were delivered by six mayors from the U.S. and Japan, two Deputy Mayors from Taiwan, and three Deputy Assistant Secretaries from the U.S. Federal Government. Copies of all Expo plenary and panel presentations, as well as many of the action clusters’ presentations, are available online.
The 2017 Expo also provided a preview of GCTC activities planned for the coming year. NIST and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced a new partnership for the 2018 GCTC-Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3). SC3 will build on NIST’s strong ties to the smart cities ecosystem and S&T’s excellent connections to the cybersecurity industry and its research community. SC3 is designed to connect these groups so smart city solutions will be reliable and resilient, and will also protect privacy.
Throughout 2017, NIST and international partners have been drafting the Internet-of-Things-Enabled Smart City (IES-City) Framework, a project launched in 2016. The public release of the framework is scheduled for February 8, 2018, when a framework workshop will be held immediately following the GCTC conference. This framework offers a smart city application analysis tool that permits smart city stakeholders to do early research related to smart city applications—their breadth, the readiness of cities’ infrastructures, and the benefits to citizens. The framework also provides a comparative analysis of prominent smart frameworks that are now being developed, often with disparate architectures. The framework illustrates the potential for harmonization among these architectures. “Pivotal Points of Interoperability (PPI)” and “Zones of Concern” are described as concepts that can enable harmonization across the various smart city communities of practice.
The impacts of cyber-physical systems (CPS) will be revolutionary and pervasive, and the development of these systems will cut across all industrial sectors and service domains. Realizing the future promise of CPS will require interoperability between diverse systems and development processes. To achieve this interoperability, researchers will require robust platforms for experimentation and testing across sectors and domains.
In 2017, NIST began development of a CPS Testbed to enable this high-risk, collaborative research between research and development teams from multiple institutions. As an important step toward this goal, NIST and its partner, the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University, have developed a Universal CPS Environment for Federation (UCEF).
UCEF provides a collaborative experiment-development environment across heterogeneous architectures integrating state-of-the-art tools including programming languages, communications co-simulations, simulation platforms, hardware in the loop, and others. This environment combines simulators and emulators from many researchers and companies with a standardized communications protocol, IEEE Standard 1516 High Level Architecture (HLA).
To introduce UCEF to the CPS community, NIST hosted the “Universal CPS Environment for Federation Workshop” in July 2017. At the workshop, participants learned the details of UCEF; received a copy that they installed on their systems while at the workshop and took home with them on a USB drive; and participated in a hands-on exercise to design, implement, and build a collaborative experiment involving all attendees. More information is available online at UCEF’s GitHub site.
The coming year promises to be a very full one for the NIST Smart Grid and CPS Program.
With the commissioning of our Smart Grid Interoperability Testbed underway, we expect our smart grid-related research projects to yield useful results in areas such as smart sensors, timing, cybersecurity, microgrids, and optimization of distributed energy resources (DERs). As the CPS testbed construction begins in the corridor adjoining the smart grid testbed, we will be another step closer to realizing our vision of a common research testbed that can operate across multiple domains. It will enable us to make full use of the expertise that exists at NIST to address common challenges for the smart grid and cyber-physical systems.
Another major effort for 2018 will be developing a new version, Release 4.0, of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards. With the many advances and new challenges in the smart grid sector since Release 3.0 was published in 2014, we expect this to be a major revision. An important part of the development process will be outreach meetings with stakeholders in key areas such as Architecture, Operations, Economics, Cybersecurity, Standards, and Testing and Certification. As the outreach meetings are organized and scheduled, we’ll use this newsletter and our website to keep you updated on logistics and agendas.
For Global City Teams Challenge participants, the year-long focus on security and privacy will begin with the Smart and Secure Cities and Communities (SC3) Challenge Kickoff, in Washington, D.C., on February 6-8, 2018. The SC3 Challenge will provide a rare opportunity for security and privacy experts to explore direct partnerships with numerous cities, communities, and stakeholders deploying smart solutions worldwide. For existing GCTC action clusters, the SC3 Challenge will encourage and enable them to integrate designed-in cybersecurity and privacy in their projects.
Throughout the year ahead, our team members will be active participants and presenters at conferences and workshops both nationally and internationally. As further details become available, they will be announced in this newsletter and on the NIST Smart Grid website and the NIST CPS website. We look forward to seeing and working with many of you in the coming year.