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NIST Smart Grid and CPS Newsletter - November 2017

Table of Contents


NIST Team Contributes to Interoperability Test of Key Smart Grid Standard, IEC 61850

A team from NIST’s Smart Grid program recently 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,” was sponsored by the IEC 61850 Users Group, part of the Utility Communications Architecture International Users Group (UCAIug), and was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, Oct. 13-19, 2017. This biennial interoperability test event, held in the United States for the first time since its 2011 inception, provided an excellent opportunity for North American utilities to see firsthand the performance of IEC 61850 devices and their interoperability with other vendors’ products. With over 200 attendees, the participants included system integrators, vendors, and utilities.

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. By working closely with industry teams and gaining firsthand knowledge of interoperability and testing challenges related to commercial implementation of IEC 61850 standards, NIST’s participation will allow the smart grid program to 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.

NIST’s participation was welcomed by participants for NIST’s technical expertise and specialized test capabilities, as well as its role as a neutral third party in a dynamic and competitive industry. Based on the success of this event, the NIST smart grid team will explore additional opportunities to similarly engage with industry. A publication describing NIST’s role in the interoperability test is planned.

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Global City Teams Challenge’s Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3) Kickoff Meeting and IES-City Framework Release Workshop Now Scheduled (Feb. 6-8, 2018, Washington, DC)

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), organized by NIST for the past four years, has gained a new partner—the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. Together with NIST, these two organizations will co-host a kickoff meeting for GCTC’s latest initiative, the Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3). 

The conference will take place Feb. 6-8, 2018, at the FHI 360 Conference Center (1825 Connecticut Ave. NW) in Washington, DC. The conference is free, but registration is required. Registration is now open on the conference website. As the agenda and additional details become available in coming weeks, they will also be posted on the conference website.

The first two days of the conference, Feb. 6-7, will focus on GCTC and SC3. The third day of the conference, Feb. 8, will feature a workshop on the release of the Internet-of-Things-Enabled Smart City (IES-City) Framework. GCTC community members will want to stay for the first two days, and they are encouraged to stay for the workshop on the third day.

For this 2018 round of GCTC, organizers are encouraging participating teams to focus on cybersecurity and privacy as a first-order concern. As in kickoff conferences held in previous years, the goal of the conference is to encourage smart community/city and Internet of Things (IoT) stakeholders to build teams to address shared issues in various sectors such as transportation, public safety, utility, wireless, city data, agriculture/rural, and data governance/exchange.

According to Sokwoo Rhee, NIST lead for the GCTC Program, “If you are a cybersecurity and privacy professional, this will be a rare opportunity to explore direct partnerships with numerous cities, communities, and stakeholders deploying smart solutions worldwide. If you are already a member of a GCTC team, this is a great chance to add serious measures of cybersecurity and privacy to your project.” For more details about SC3, see this NIST News Release.

Updates on GCTC SuperCluster activities include:

Following the two-day GCTC-SC3 event will be the third day presentation of the IES-City Framework, which is being developed by the NIST-led IES-City Framework international working group. Among other features, the IES-City Framework offers a smart city application analysis tool that will permit stakeholders to do early research related to smart city applications—their breadth, the readiness of cities’ infrastructures, and the benefits to citizens. Additionally, a comparative analysis of prominent smart frameworks will illustrate the potential value of harmonizing the disparate architectures being promulgated and standardized for application in smart cities. A means of discovering “Pivotal Points of Interoperability (PPI)” and “Zones of Concern” will be presented as a way of providing a tool to lower barriers to interoperability between the ecosystems currently being deployed.

For details on the framework working groups (work in progress on the framework draft will be found on the working group pages of this link), see here. Please find a white paper describing this project here, as well as a slide deck describing this project here.

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NIST Plans Three European Events to Discuss “Trustworthiness” and Cyber-Physical Systems (Stockholm—Dec. 1, 2017; Paris—Dec. 5, 2017; London—Dec. 11, 2017)

The NIST Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems introduces the concept of “Trustworthiness” to facilitate identification and analysis of issues related to security, privacy, safety, reliability, and resilience.  Each of these three workshop events will review the CPS Framework, with a focus on how it supports the concept of Trustworthiness in the design, implementation, and validation of CPS. The events will also present how ontologies and their reasoning capabilities can support engineering activities through analyses of multiple concerns and their qualitative and quantitative relationships (e.g., through use of parameters or probabilities to inform risk management). The events will include a report on research undertaken toward development of a calculus for logical optimization of trustworthiness and other aspects of CPS. Attendees will be invited to offer feedback and identify collaboration opportunities for research in that space. For further details, contact NIST’s Ed Griffor (edward.griffor@nist.gov).

Stockholm Event: Toward a Calculus for Measuring and Monitoring the Trustworthiness of Cyber-Physical Systems

Date:     Dec. 1, 2017
Time:     2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (local time)
Venue:  KTH, Stockholm SWEDEN
Fee:       There is no charge for participation.

Paris Event: Toward a Calculus for Achieving Trustworthy Cyber-Physical Systems

Date:     Dec. 5, 2017
Time:     10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (local time)
Venue:  UPMC, Sorbonne; Paris FRANCE
Fee:       There is no charge for participation.

London Event: Toward a Calculus for Measures of and Reasoning over System Trustworthiness

Date:     Dec. 11, 2017
Time:     8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (local time)
Venue:  Skempton Building, Room 064/a/b, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UNITED KINGDOM
Fee:       There is no charge for participation.

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“Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems: Volume 3, Timing Annex” Published

The third volume of NIST’s CPS Framework was published in September 2017 and is available online as a PDF file for free download. This new volume, “Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems: Volume 3, Timing Annex,” presents additional information concerning timing in cyber-physical systems, to supplement content provided in Volume 2. 

Volume 2, which featured reports from five working groups, included a report from the Timing Working Group. That report provided an overview of the Timing Aspect; presented the status of, and needs for, time awareness in system elements of a CPS; discussed timing and latency in CPS; and described special security issues that arise with respect to timing. 

Volume 3, in addition to providing a further Introduction to Timing, includes sections on the following:

  • Managing Timing and Latency,
  • Timing Security and Resilience, and
  • Timing Requirements (Use Cases).

The publications summarize the work and contributions of the CPS Public Working Group (CPS PWG), established by NIST in mid-2014. The first two documents are also available online, free of charge, as PDF files at the following links: “Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems: Volume 1, Overview” and “Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems: Volume 2, Working Group Reports.”

The CPS Framework document—developed in partnership with industry, academic, and government experts—is intended to help CPS experts, architects, and practitioners to create new CPS that work seamlessly with other smart systems that 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 collaboration site.

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Minutes Now Available for NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee Meeting (Aug. 17-18, 2017)

The NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee met in open session on Aug. 17-18, 2017, at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Minutes of the meeting, as well as slides from staff presentations during the meeting, are available online. 

This federal advisory committee was established to assist NIST in fulfilling its responsibilities under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The committee provides input to NIST on smart grid standards, priorities, and gaps, and on the overall direction and status of the smart grid sector. 

Chaired by Paul Centolella, the committee’s membership comprises 12 distinguished individuals who reflect the wide diversity of technical disciplines and competencies involved in smart grid deployment and operations. More information about the Smart Grid Advisory Committee, including biographical sketches of the members, is available online.

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NIST Publishes Two Workshop Reports: Advanced Electrical Power System Sensors; Time Distribution Alternatives for the Smart Grid

NIST has just released two reports based on one-day workshops held in March 2017 at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The publications are free of charge and are available online.

The first workshop, summarized in Advanced Electrical Power System Sensors, Workshop Report, NIST Special Publication 1500-11, was structured to identify stakeholder input relevant to the smart grid activities of multiple organizations, including NIST, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC). The workshop provided the opportunity to hear industry concerns and ideas regarding emerging and future electrical power system sensors, transducers, and transformer technologies. Findings from the workshop cover key application areas for next-generation sensing devices; future targets for sensor performance; challenges and barriers to achieving performance; and research activities to address the challenges.

The second workshop, summarized in Time Distribution Alternatives for the Smart Grid, Workshop Report, NIST Special Publication 1500-12, brought together experts from industry, government, national laboratories, and academia to determine research and development (R&D) priorities for alternatives to global positioning system (GPS) time distribution in electrical power systems. Findings from the workshop cover desired future characteristics and targets for time distribution alternatives; challenges and barriers to adoption of time distribution alternatives; and priority R&D areas for time distribution alternatives. Potential alternative technologies to GPS and GPS backup systems are also discussed.

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Registration Now Open for ISGT 2018 (Feb. 19-22, 2018, Washington, DC)

The Ninth Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technology (ISGT 2018), sponsored by the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES), will be held on February 19-22, 2018, at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is “Grid Transformation.” Registration is now open at the conference website.

According to NIST’s Jerry FitzPatrick, who is the conference technical chair, the meeting will feature plenary sessions, panel sessions, technical papers, and tutorials. Speakers will include experts representing electric utilities, regulators, technology providers, academia, national laboratories, and federal and state governments.

The conference is organized along three tracks:

  • Grid Planning and Analysis
  • Distribution System Operations, Functions, and Tools
  • Markets and Policy

Further descriptions of these three tracks are available online.

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Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Update

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has Published a White Paper on EMC Test Setups for Smart Grid Devices

The paper was developed by members of 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.

The white paper describes how electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests are important for enabling smart grid electronic devices to simultaneously transfer smart grid data while also monitoring power flow to and from customer premises. Because each test requires a specific test setup for the device being tested, there is a need for developing detailed test plans and formalizing test setups simulating normal operating conditions or operational modes of the device under test. This test scenario is performed to see if the device has adequate immunity to the electromagnetic (EM) environment. 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 and published by the former Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), which merged with SEPA in 2017.

SEPA has Announced a New Initiative 

This new initiative is designed to tackle challenges presented by an ever-increasing proliferation of distributed energy resources (DERs) on the electrical grid. It will also focus on Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) and will be discussed at a 2018 launch meeting on Jan. 22, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, in association with DistribuTECH 2018.  

A just-released draft document, DERMS Requirements, was produced by SEPA’s Grid Management Working Group, a utilities-only working group created in January 2016 to help utilities reduce the risks of procuring systems that failed to deliver all needed capabilities. With the release of the draft document, the working group now invites new industry participants from the utility and the vendor communities to review the draft and submit commentary.

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Created March 16, 2018