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NIST/DOE Time Distribution Alternatives for the Smart Grid Workshop

On Tuesday, March 21 2017, one day before the North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI) workgroup meeting, NIST will host a workshop on Time Distribution Alternatives in the Smart Grid.  The purpose of this workshop is for NIST and the Department of Energy to get input from to industry to help determine research priorities concerning alternatives to GPS time distribution in electrical power systems.


Time synchronized measurements are increasingly being made across electrical power systems.  Examples of measurements which are time synchronized include Phasor Measurements (PMU) and electronic transformers (also known as Merging Units).  Many power system experts predict that one day, these synchronized measurements will become vital to the proper operation of the power system (mission critical).

Today GPS is the only means of distributing synchronizing time across the power system.  However, it is widely known that GPS is vulnerable to both short term and long term outages and either intentional or unintentional interference.  Experts agree that before the power system can come to rely on time synchronized measurements, redundant and differently routed sources of synchronizing time will be required.

Workshop Objectives

NIST and the DOE’s National Laboratory Partners wish to listen to industry concerns and ideas concerning alternatives to GPS for time synchronization.  Workshop organizers plan to initiate discussion of potential solutions and evaluate the need for research, standards, and metrology in this area.

Workshop Format

This one-day workshop will include only three presentations with audience-wide discussion following each.  In the afternoon, three facilitated break-out sessions will be held centered on each of the presentations.  At the end of the day the whole group will get together for presentations recommendations of the three break-out sessions.

Lee Cosart of Microsemi Corporation will speak on wide-area distribution of Precision Time Protocol (IEEE 1588)

Stephen Bartlett of Ursanav Corporation will speak on time distribution via eLoran.

John Lowe of NIST will speak on what it would take to make WWVB a viable 1us backup for GPS

If you are not registered, you will not be allowed on site. Registered attendees will receive security and campus instructions prior to the workshop.

NON U.S. CITIZENS PLEASE NOTE: All foreign national visitors who do not have permanent resident status and who wish to register for the above meeting must supply additional information. Failure to provide this information prior to arrival will result, at a minimum, in significant delays (up to 24 hours) in entering the facility. Authority to gather this information is derived from United States Department of Commerce Department Administrative Order (DAO) number 207-12. When registration is open, the required NIST-1260 form will be available as well.*New Visitor Access Requirement: Effective July 21, 2014, Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, agencies, including NIST, can only accept a state-issued driver's license or identification card for access to federal facilities if issued by states that are REAL ID compliant or have an extension.

Click here for a list of alternative identification and further details>>

Created September 28, 2016, Updated October 19, 2016