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NIST Smart Grid and CPS Newsletter - February 2017

Table of Contents


GCTC SuperClusters Hold Webinars and Face-to-Face Workshops

NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) is focusing special attention this year 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 will enable existing GCTC action clusters to work together, thereby increasing the scale and impact of their efforts.

Since the October 2016 SuperCluster Kickoff Event held in Washington, D.C., five SuperClusters have begun work. In addition to meeting regularly by conference call and through virtual meetings, four of the SuperClusters are holding face-to-face meetings this month and next month.

Each of the SuperClusters welcomes new participants. Here is further information for those wishing to get involved in one of these SuperClusters.

Transportation SuperCluster (Portland, Oregon, February 1-2, 2017)

An overflow crowd of more than 200 participants—including officials from 18 cities and communities and opening remarks by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler—met to discuss the future of smart cities and to create a replicable and sharable blueprint for smart transportation systems. As described afterwards in an article in the Portland Tribune and News Review, “The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) Super Action Cluster Summit was designed to bring local authorities, tech vendors, and consultants together to figure out a blueprint making cities smarter—sooner.”

The Transportation SuperCluster has created a Wiki page to continue collaboration and collect examples of smart transportation solutions to be shared in the blueprint for smart cities, with the goal of publishing the first draft this spring.

City Platform SuperCluster (Kansas City, Missouri, February 7-8, 2017)

Officials from 15 cities—along with more than 120 participants from industry, academia, and federal government agencies—met last week to discuss collaboration on the issues of city data and cross-cutting platforms. The event was kicked off by Kansas City Mayor Sly James, followed by two days of presentations and roundtable discussions. The workshop attracted significant media attention from TechCrunch, GCN, Telecompetitor, Next City, and Startland. The information collected and discussed at the event will be the basis for the smart city blueprint for city platform.

For further information on the City Platform SuperCluster, please contact Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director, Cyber-Physical Systems Program, NIST, at sokwoo.rhee@nist.gov.

Public Safety/Emergency/Disaster/Resilience SuperCluster (Washington, D.C., March 2-3, 2017)

The GCTC Public Safety SuperCluster (PSSC) Workshop, co-hosted by the City of Washington, D.C., the PSSC leadership team, and NIST, will be held on March 2-3, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The free workshop—to be held at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO)—will bring together GCTC stakeholders to develop the blueprint and implementation plan of smart public safety for cities and communities around the world, based on successful real-world examples and best practices. The two-day event will include both discussions and working group activities.

Registration is now open at this website

PSSC held a pre-workshop webinar on February 16, 2017, to provide a general overview of its activity. The initial roster of the PSSC leadership team was announced at the webinar. The webinar’s slide deck can be downloaded from here.

If you are interested in updates on the work of this group, you can join at the Public Safety, Emergency, Disaster, Resilience SuperCluster Group

Energy/Water/Waste SuperCluster Workshop (Atlanta, Georgia, March 22-23, 2017)

The GCTC Atlanta Smart Energy, Water, and Waste SuperCluster Workshop, co-hosted by NIST, the City of Atlanta, AT&T, Smart Cities Council, and Siemens, will be held on March 22-23, 2017, at the AT&T Corporate Office in Atlanta, Georgia. This free event will explore how smart technologies can accelerate sustainable and resilient energy, water, and materials systems in the Atlanta region and in cities around the world. Participants will begin drafting a high-level blueprint of replicable, scalable, and sustainable energy, water, and waste management utilities operating within smart cities, based on successful real-world examples and best practices. The goal is for this blueprint to be utilized by cities around the world as a way to jumpstart their efforts.

The workshop will combine general content sessions with multiple parallel breakouts and working groups. Key themes include a common “architecture” for smart utilities, public-private partnerships, and the linking of regional and global smart cities efforts.

Registration is now open at this website. (Please register ASAP as space is limited.)

Public WiFi SuperCluster (Webinar held January 26, 2017)

David Witkowski, Executive Director of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and Jon Walton, CIO of the County of San Mateo, California, have volunteered to serve as co-chairs of the SuperCluster. We also welcome a new leading city—San Leandro, California—to the leadership team. The group is now composed of over 100 members, with a leadership team that includes Verizon/Sensity, Brocade, NIST, NTIA, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, San Mateo County, and the City of San Leandro, California.

The slide deck from the January 26  webinar—which includes objectives, scope, and timeline of the Public WiFi SuperCluster—can be downloaded from here. To receive updates on the activities of this SuperCluster, please join online at the  Public WiFi SuperCluster Group.

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Upcoming NASPI Meeting to Focus on Synchrophasors (Gaithersburg, Maryland, March 22-23, 2017)

The North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI) will be holding its semi-annual work group meeting, hosted by NIST at its campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The NASPI Work Group meeting will feature technical sessions and presentations on secure and robust time synchronization; data quality and application requirements for quality data; control room uses of synchrophasor technology; generator and equipment diagnostics for asset management; and advanced networking technologies. Chris Greer, Director of NIST’s Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office, will deliver the keynote speech.

The two-day meeting (March 22-23, 2017) will be of interest to representatives from the utility industry, manufacturers and vendors, academia, national laboratories, government agencies, and standards-making bodies. 

Registration details and the agenda are available online. All attendees must register in advance no later than March 13, 2017. (Please note that, due to NIST security policy, there will be NO onsite registration.)

In addition to Dr. Greer, two NIST staff members will make presentations:

  • Allen Goldstein, Electrical Engineer, NIST’s Applied Electrical Metrology Group
  • John Lowe, Group Leader, NIST’s Time and Frequency Services Group

Mr. Goldstein—together with colleagues Tom King of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Jieching Zhao of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville—will present a paper, “Model of Parameterized PMU Estimation Error.” Their joint NIST/DOE project uses modeling to analyze the effects that estimation errors in PMU measurements will have on various applications that use synchrophasor data as inputs. After using simulations of power systems events to generate “ideal data” and calculate “ideal synchrophasors,” they further simulate “field data” by “impairing” this ideal data from “just a little” to “a whole bunch.” They are then able to discover, for various applications, the points where the input causes unusable outputs. The tool being developed by NIST will be publicly available as open source code on GitHub, and is expected to be used by power system designers, engineers, and researchers.

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“Timing Challenges in the Smart Grid” Published (NIST Special Publication 1500-08)

NIST and IEEE-SA conducted a workshop, “Timing Challenges in the Smart Grid,” at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on October 26, 2016. A paper summarizing the workshop was published in January 2017. The paper (25 pages, PDF file) is now available online for free download. The webcast and the presentations from that workshop are also available online.

Correct time and timing are foundational elements in enabling the communication and orchestration of technologies for accurate and optimal wide-area monitoring, protection, and control in the power industry. The workshop brought together stakeholders to identify, analyze, and provide guidance on technologies, standards, and methodologies for addressing the practical challenges that are currently being experienced in wide-area time synchronization.

Topics discussed in the report include the following:

  • Application Requirements
  • Time Distribution in Power Systems
  • Time Issues and Challenges
  • Time Distribution Sources
  • Time and Security
  • Potential R&D Areas
  • Priorities
  • Current Efforts and Collaborative Opportunities
  • Future Work

Included among the reports’ ten co-authors are five NIST staff members/associates: Ya-Shian Li-Baboud, Cuong Nguyen, Marc Weiss, Dhananjay Anand, and Allen Goldstein.

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Now Available: NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide, Draft Special Publication 1800-7: "Situational Awareness for Electric Utilities"

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of NIST, has released its latest NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide, "Situational Awareness for Electric Utilities." The document is a draft, and NCCoE is seeking comments and feedback. The comment period is open through April 17, 2017.

Energy companies rely on operational technology to control the generation, transmission, and distribution of power. While there are a number of useful products on the market for monitoring enterprise networks for possible security events, these products tend to be imperfect fits for the unusual requirements of control system networks. Creating a network monitoring solution that is tailored to the needs of control systems would reduce security blind spots.

To help the energy sector address this cybersecurity challenge, NCCoE has developed an example solution that explores the methods by which energy providers can more readily detect and remediate anomalous conditions, investigate the chain of events that led to the anomalies, and share findings with other energy companies.

The example solution presents the characteristics and capabilities of readily available products, which an organization’s security experts can use to identify similar standards-based products that will fit within their organization’s existing tools and infrastructure.

The new guide is the second produced by the NCCoE focused on the energy sector. The first,”Identity and Access Management for Electric Utilities” (NIST Special Publication 1800-2), was released in August 2015. The guides do not dictate which products or designs should be used, but offer enough direction to help users pick and choose the elements they want to achieve the cybersecurity capabilities they need. NCCoE is a collaborative hub where industry organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions work together to address businesses’ most pressing cybersecurity challenges.

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Upcoming Meeting: Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2017) (Arlington, Virginia, April 23-26, 2017)

Researchers from the NIST Smart Grid team will be presenting a panel, “Innovative Research at the NIST Smart Grid Testbed,” at the Eighth Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2017). Sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), the conference will be held on April 23-26, 2017, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia (Washington D.C. Metro Area). The conference will feature plenary sessions, panel sessions, technical papers, and tutorials by experts on grid modernization and smart grid applications and system integration.

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Created February 22, 2017