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NIST Researcher Helps Industry with Testing Interoperability between Grid and Renewables

NIST Researcher Helps Industry with Testing Interoperability between Grid and Renewables

In October 2022, NIST researcher Cuong Nguyen contributed his testing expertise at the OpenFMB PlugFest 2.0, held at the Duke Energy Mount Holly facility in North Carolina and sponsored by the Utility Communications Architecture International User’s Group.

Basically, a "plugfest" is an event in which vendors and utilities meet to determine if their equipment will act and communicate with each other as needed, which reduces the risk of having to make costly modifications after equipment is purchased and installed. The OpenFMB PlugFest 2.0 sought to validate the interoperability of vendors' renewable energy products – or "distributed energy resources" – including interconnection with the power grid and cybersecurity capabilities. Moreover, this plugfest assessed whether these systems could perform in keeping with the OpenFMB Message Bus standard, ratified by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB). This standard addresses such functions as controlling and communicating with distributed energies resources, sensing, and more.

Testing and certification of vendors' equipment provides buyers with assurance that it conforms with the OpenFMB Message Bus standard. This testing and certification will be done by the Battery Innovation Center, an Ohio-based laboratory.

As NIST's lead for testing and certification of smart grid and distributed energy systems, Nguyen served as the official third party technical observer to evaluate the standard's implementation towards testing accreditation, per the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, which addresses how to set up testing programs. Based on this evaluation, Nguyen provided expertise regarding what is needed for:

  • Testing to provide quality assurance that equipment will meet the OpenFMB Message Bus standard; and
  • Technical competency to test to the OpenFMB Message Bus standard.

The Battery Innovation Center is undergoing the certification process. Nguyen will also support the ANSI assessment of the Center’s technical capabilities.

Released November 1, 2022, Updated February 17, 2023