The Application of Information and Communications Technologies to the Power Grid – Part 1

I have been advocating the application of information and communications technologies to the power grid and any elements that are part of or connect to the power grid. There are many such application areas, including measuring and monitoring, communications and networking, data collection, aggregation and storage, and data processing and analytics. So you might want to read the rest of the blog even if your interests are pure ICT.

On November 1, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Preliminary Discussion Draft: NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 3.0. The draft is meant to be for stakeholders before collecting public comments. I have reviewed versions 1 and 2 before and would like to touch on some of the points I found interesting. And those points may be also interesting to you, even if you are a pure ICT guy. Chapter 4 of this report lists standard technologies deemed important by NIST for smart grid interoperability. In reading this chapter, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Note that because of the draft’s length (244 pages) and complexity, this blog is not meant to be a complete summary. By the way, you can send any comments on the draft report to NIST Smart Grid.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) assigned the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) the responsibility to coordinate the development of an interoperability framework, including model standards and protocols.

In the rest of the blog, I will go over some of the points I found interesting chapter by chapter. There are eight chapters and four appendices. There is a short summary of what’s covered in the draft report from page 17 to 18. From page 19 to 21, there is a good summary of what changed from release 2.0 to this version of the draft.

Chapter 1: Purpose and Scope (pp. 23–34).

The following is a good summary of their progress since the inception of the effort in 2007–2008 to now.


Nine Priority Areas

Smart grid encompasses a huge area, but the following nine segments are listed as priorities.

  1. Demand response and consumer energy efficiency
  2. Wide-area situational awareness
  3. Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
  4. Energy Storage
  5. Electric transportation
  6. Network communications
  7. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)
  8. Distribution grid management
  9. Cybersecurity

I think each area is self-explanatory. Wide-area situational awareness is about monitoring transmission lines, AMI is to obtain more precise load information, and the eighth priority modernizes the distribution grid. Network communications and cybersecurity apply ICT horizontally to the smart grid. Silicon Valley’s Joint Venture’s smart energy enterprise development zone (SEEDZ)‘s initiative has a priority similar to these.

Chapter 2: Smart Grid Visions (pp. 35– 50)

International Smart Grid Standards and International Efforts to Harmonize Architectures

It makes sense to have common standards and technologies for smart grid around in the world. The US power grid is connected with to that of Canada. Remember the Northeast blackout of 2003 that involved both northeastern US states and southeastern of Canadian provinces. NIST is working with other countries and international organizations. Examples include the European Union’s Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG), the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Korea Smart Grid Standardization Forum (KSGSF), and the Japan Smart Community Alliance, and others.

Chapter 3: Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) (pp. 51–61)

The SGIP is:

an incorporated private/public non-profit partnership funded by industry stakeholders in cooperation with the federal government. It is a membership-based organization established to support NIST and to identify, prioritize, and address new and emerging requirements for smart grid standards. The SGIP provides a venue for stakeholders to interact with NIST in the ongoing coordination, acceleration, and harmonization of standards development for the smart grid.

Some of the highlights regarding SGIP are:

  • SGIP transition from a federally -funded membership organization to a non-profit organization, known as SGIP 2.0, in December 2012, and the associated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cooperative Agreement with NIST.
  • All the efforts up to December 2012 by SGIP are summarized in the smart grid collaborative wiki. After January 2013, yYou need to become a member of Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Inc. to access the latest activity information.
  • Domain Expert expert Working working Groups groups (DEWG) provide expertise in specific application areas, as well as a rich understanding of the current and future requirements for smart grid applications. Due to their broad membership and collaborative process, DEWGs integrate a wide array of stakeholder expertise and interests. Domain Expert Working Groups (DEWGs) as of October, 2013:
      1. Transmission and Distribution (T&D)
      2. Home-to-Grid (H2G)
      3. Building-to-Grid (B2G)
      4. Distributed Renewables, Generators, and Storage (DRGS)
      5. Industry-to-Grid (I2G)
      6. Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)
      7. Business and Policy (BnP)
  • Priority Action Plans (PAP) arise from the analysis of the applicability of standards to smart grid use cases and are targeted to resolve specific critical issues. PAPs are created only when the SGIP determines there is a need for interoperability coordination on some urgent issue. (To date, there have been 23 PAPs have been established;. Of the 23 PAPs that have been established, 12 PAPs are active, and 11 PAPs have completed their work.)

Active Priority Action Plans (PAPs) are::

      1. PAP 02 Wireless Communications for the Smart Grid
      2. PAP 07 Electric Storage Interconnection Guidelines
      3. PAP 08 CIM for Distribution Grid Management
      4. PAP 09 Standard DR and DER Signals
      5. PAP 12 Mapping IEEE 1815 (DNP3) to IEC 61850 Objects
      6. PAP 15 Harmonize Power Line Carrier Standards for Appliance Communications in the Home
      7. PAP 16 Wind Plant Communications
      8. PAP 17 Facility Smart Grid Information Standard
      9. PAP 19 Wholesale Demand Response (DR) Communication Protocol
      10. PAP 20 Green Button ESPI Evolution
      11. PAP 21 Weather Information
      12. PAP 22 Electric Vehicle Subm-Metering

Completed PAPriority Action Plans are:

      1. PAP 00 Meter Upgradeability Standard
      2. PAP 01 Role of IP in the Smart Grid
      3. PAP 03 Common Price Communication Model
      4. PAP 04 Common Schedule Communication Mechanism
      5. PAP 05 Standard Meter Data Profiles
      6. PAP 06 Common Semantic Model for Meter Data Tables
      7. PAP 10 Standard Energy Usage Information
      8. PAP 11 Common Object Models for Electric Transportation
      9. PAP 13 Harmonization of IEEE C37.118 with IEC 61850 and Precision Time Synchronization
      10. PAP 14 Transmission and Distribution Power Systems Model Mapping
      11. PAP 18 SEP 1.x to SEP 2 Transition and Coexistence

Catalog of Standards (CoS)

The CoS is:

is a compendium of standards and practices considered to be relevant for the development and deployment of a robust and interoperable smart grid. The CoS provides a key—but not exclusive—source of input to the NIST process for coordinating the development of a framework of protocols and model standards for an interoperable smart grid. The extensive information included for each entry will also be a useful resource for utilities, manufacturers, regulators, consumers, and other smart grid stakeholders.

Note that CoS is a product of SGIP, and standards listed in CoS are not necessarily deemed by NIST to be smart grid standards. Table 4-1 in Chapter 4 contains the technologies that NIST does deemed as standards by NIST. This interoperability report is by NIST in collaboration with SGIP. Thus, many entries in CoS and Table 4-1 may overlap but are not necessarily identical.

Continues to part 2

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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