Over the past decade, NIST has played a key role in grid modernization by developing and publishing “The NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards.” The Framework has advanced our understanding of interoperability standards and gaps from devices to organizations by providing a common vision and vocabulary, a set of shared principles and practices, and collective agreement on standards and protocols.
The Framework has been widely used by stakeholders across the sector to engage and guide discussion, planning, and deployment of the emerging smart grid, and its relevance increases as interoperability becomes more important in our rapidly changing grid. The role of distributed energy resources (DER)—from rooftop solar and microgrids to demand response and batteries—has grown substantially over the past few years, and the potential configurations, interfaces, and operational strategies for the grid are diversifying. Consumers are now producers, and non-utility assets are assuming larger roles in energy management and the provision of grid services. In short, there is a growing need to reassess the role of interoperability in a modern grid—and the gaps that may limit progress.
Release 4.0 will be a major revision of the NIST Interoperability Framework, fundamentally different from the three preceding releases. NIST will hold workshops to get input from industry, government, and research community stakeholders throughout the summer months. (See related article below.)
Importantly, the Framework starts with a simple reality—there will not be a single architecture that defines the entire grid. Rather, there will be a variety of architectures, especially those architectures related to the distribution domain. In Framework 4.0, NIST will use a set of different communication pathways scenarios to explore technical issues associated with operations, cybersecurity, economics, and testing and certification.
After the stakeholder input is analyzed and integrated, a draft of Framework 4.0 will be released for public comment. For more details about Framework 4.0, please visit the Framework webpage.
From June through October, NIST will convene stakeholder workshops to explore the most important ideas in Release 4.0. An introductory webinar was recently held; two in-person workshops have been scheduled; and four regional workshops are planned for late summer band early fall.
Smart grid stakeholders—from utilities, vendors, and equipment manufacturers to renewable power producers, retail service providers, and regulators—can use these sessions to explore the role interoperability will have in shaping our complex electricity ecosystem.
Here are details about recent and upcoming events:
June 6, 2018
This internet-based webinar provided an early look at updates to NIST’s Smart Grid Conceptual Model, as well as an overview of a set of scenarios for communication pathways corresponding to different architectural approaches to the smart grid. The webinar also introduced a cyber-physical systems ontology that can be used to clarify issues and capabilities in this increasingly complex space. A recording of the webinar and a copy of the presentation materials are available online.
July 9, 2018
Testing and Certification Workshop
Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C.
This full-day workshop—to be held at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Grid Evolution Summit (see further details in article below)—will explore underlying drivers for the current state of testing and certification, and will identify gaps in translating smart grid standards into functional interoperability of deployed grid assets. Participants will explore “interoperability profiles” for smart grid standards as a means to accelerate the development of testing and certification programs. For more details and to register for the workshop, please visit the workshop web page.
July 24-25, 2018
Communication Pathways Scenarios Workshop
NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland
Framework 4.0 will include a deeper investigation of the types and structures of communications necessary for grid function under a variety of operational strategies. This workshop will discuss four candidate reference scenarios that are being developed to provide insight into communication pathways and content. These scenarios will form the foundational elements of NIST's research into smart grid operations, economics, cybersecurity, and interoperability testing and certification requirements. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to provide input and insights on scenarios for consideration. For more details and to register for the workshop, please visit the workshop web page.
Four additional regional workshops are being organized for the Northeast, Midwest, West Coast, and Southeast. The focus of these regional workshops will be Grid Operations and Economics. The workshops will be held in August, September, and October. As details are finalized, they will be publicized through this newsletter and other sources.
The NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee met on April 24--25, 2018, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The committee reviewed and discussed NIST’s smart grid research portfolio and future objectives. The committee also provided guidance on the content and process for the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Framework, Release 4.0.
The minutes and slides of the presentations are available online.
For the committee charter and biographical sketches of the committee members, as well as minutes and reports from previous meetings, please visit the committee web page.
Allen Hefner, Jr., a member of the NIST Smart Grid Team, has been nominated for a major award—the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, known informally as the “Sammies.” Dr. Hefner was named as one of five finalists for the 2018 Career Achievement Award, which honors a federal employee for leading significant and sustained accomplishments throughout a federal career of 20 or more years.
Dr. Hefner, an electronics engineer in NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory, is being recognized for developing the “Hefner model” for power semiconductor devices that revolutionized manufacturing of power conversion systems that millions of people use today, leading to trillions of dollars in energy savings worldwide.
With NIST’s Smart Grid Team, Dr. Hefner plays a key role in topics related to microgrids, power inverters, and power electronics. As one of the NIST experts in technical leadership roles in the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) from 2009-2015, Dr. Hefner contributed to a number of microgrid and distributed renewable energy standardization activities. Today, his work with microgrid controllers serves as a key component of ongoing research in NIST’s Smart Grid Interoperability Laboratory.
The next major GCTC event—the 2018 GCTC-SC3 Tech Jam—will convene in Portland, Oregon, on June 20-22, 2018. The goal of Tech Jam is to share the progress made by all 2018 GCTC action clusters and SuperClusters and open up additional collaboration opportunities to all interested parties. Tech Jam will feature keynote presentations, panel presentations, action cluster presentations, four different breakout sessions, a lightning pitch session, and a poster session.
The June event in Portland will be co-hosted by the City of Portland, Tech Oregon, Urban Systems, and NIST, with participation from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). The event website, agenda, and registration are available online.
This year’s challenge, which is co-hosted by NIST and DHS S&T, emphasizes cybersecurity and privacy as focus areas. Organizers are encouraging participating GCTC teams—ongoing action clusters and SuperClusters, as well as newly formed action clusters—to focus on cybersecurity and privacy as a first-order concern, along with existing GCTC goals of replicability, scalability, and sustainability.
Here are two additional updates from the GCTC program:
For more information about GCTC-SC3, action clusters, and SuperClusters, visit the GCTC collaboration website.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Grid Evolution Summit will be held July 9-12, 2018, at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. The agenda and registration information are available online.
SEPA has over a dozen member working groups that hold virtual meetings monthly or quarterly. These groups cover a wide range of technical topics, and NIST staff members are involved as participants in a number of the groups and as leaders for some of the groups. The following groups, with NIST involvement, will be holding face-to-face meetings at the Grid Evolution Summit:
As also described above (see article on “Framework Stakeholder Webinar and Workshops”), NIST will hold a full-day workshop at the Washington Hilton on Monday, July 9. The focus of the workshop is Testing and Certification Issues for smart grid interoperability. Note that registration for this workshop is free and open to all stakeholders. (Please use the separate online registration form for the workshop.)