|Smart Grid electric transportation applications summary communications diagram. Click to enlarge.|
The US Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released for public review a report that identifies issues and proposes priorities for developing technical standards and an architecture for a US Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is a planned nationwide network that will use 21st century information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely, while allowing increased use of renewable power sources.
The nearly 300-page report, developed and delivered to NIST by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is part of the first phase of NIST’s three-phase plan, announced in April, to expedite development of key standards for the Smart Grid. NIST will accept public comments on the report for 30 days after the publication of an upcoming notice in the Federal Register announcing the report’s availability.
Widely adopted interoperability standards will enable integration, effective cooperation, and secure two-way communication among the many networked elements of a smart electric power grid. This report is an important step forward in that process.—George Arnold, NIST National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability
Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, NIST has “primary responsibility to coordinate development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems…” NIST is working closely with the Department of Energy, the lead agency in the federal Smart Grid effort.
Earlier this year, NIST awarded a contract to EPRI for assistance in developing the standards framework. EPRI technical experts have compiled and distilled recommendations from a variety of Smart Grid stakeholders, including technical contributions taken from two EPRI-facilitated, two-day, public workshops. The EPRI report also incorporates contributions from six expert working groups established by NIST in 2008, and a cybersecurity coordination task group established in 2009.
The report describes at a high level the use cases that were the subject of the interim roadmap discussions and workshops, and, through which the actors (and their interfaces), information objects, and ultimately requirements and standards were derived. These use cases included wide area situational awareness (WASA); demand response; electric storage; electric transportation; AMI systems; and distribution grid management.
Electric transportation.. Both FERC and the Obama administration recognize electric transportation as a key area of focus for the Smart Grid community. The current grid and market infrastructure cannot support mass deployments of PEVs, according to the report, and there are special issues to consider when designing for massive PEV support. The introduction of millions of mobile electricity charging and discharging devices provides unique challenges to every domain on the Smart Grid.
The report envisions two major scenarios with the advent of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), with one or the other or both actually playing out:
PEV will add significantly to the load that the power system will have to serve, and if no regulation, coordination, and/or incentives are included, then PEV could significantly increase the cost of peak power.
PEV, although still adding to the load, will help balance on- and off-peak loads through shifting when they are charged and also eventually by providing storage and discharging capacity. Additional ancillary services could also improve energy efficiency and power quality. These shifting strategies will result from carefully tailored pricing and market incentives.
Many stakeholders will be involved, with many interactions between them. The report describes following use cases illustrate the types of interactions across these interfaces, and the interoperability standards, cyber security requirements, and system management that will be needed to realize these Smart Grid visions.
NIST will use the EPRI report in drafting the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework. The NIST document will describe a high-level architecture, identify an initial set of key standards, and provide a roadmap for developing new or revised standards needed to realize the Smart Grid. Release 1.0 of the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework is planned to be available in September.
A third public EPRI-sponsored Smart Grid interoperability-standards workshop will be held in early August to engage standards-development organizations in responding to unaddressed, high-priority needs identified in the draft standards roadmap.
Ultimately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) determines whether sufficient consensus has been reached to implement final standards and protocols necessary for Smart Grid functionality and interoperability. NIST’s role is to identify and submit to FERC recommendations for the final product.