Technology Today

2011 Issue 1

Standardizing the Smart Grid

In recent years, Raytheon has been providing leadership in energy-related domestic and international standards-development organizations, such as the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, IEEE P2030 [1] — Smart Grid Interoperability Guidelines Standards, and International Committee for Information Technology Standards. Additionally, Raytheon actively participates in the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The primary objective of standardization is to have open specifications for portability, interconnectivity and, most important, interoperability. For Raytheon, this facilitates greater openness, understanding and trust with our customers so that we can better address their needs.

Raytheon has numerous technologies directly applicable to energy systems, including intelligent sensor technologies, sensor networks and architectures, command and control, data and information processing technology, cybersecurity, renewable energy technologies, and smart power management. Raytheon can play an important role in contributing its knowledge about these technologies to develop effective and useable standards for the smart grid.

Creating the Smart Grid

The United States power grid is one of the most complex networked systems in the world. While many modern systems and networks have transitioned in ways unrecognizable from their original implementations, the power grid has remained rooted in its original conception and implementation. As many have noted, if Alexander Graham Bell was introduced to today's communications network, he would be overwhelmed at the magnitude of advancement; if Nikola Tesla was introduced to the modern power grid, he would recognize almost every part of the infrastructure.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 allocated and funded more than $4 billion through the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to initiate the modernization of the legacy power grid toward the smart grid, applying digital technology (e.g., IT backbone, digital information and communications) to the power grid. The smart grid will integrate stakeholder industries; such as generation, transmission and distribution; utility companies and end-users to make the grid more robust, fault tolerant, failure resistant, self correcting and self recoverable. It will achieve dynamic pricing and power redistribution through effective power management. The smart grid will also facilitate the addition of renewable energy, such as energy generated from solar photovoltaic sources, wind farms, fuel cells, tidal and geothermal generators. Utility companies may purchase the energy from individual homes or businesses if the homes or businesses are generating power through renewable energy systems.

The migration from the legacy power grid to the smart grid is one of today's most challenging tasks, and will take place over the next couple of decades and beyond. This transition will involve all aspects of the legacy power grid's systems, and will also have to account for the introduction of new technologies and new players in the emerging smart grid. This will all have to be managed while ensuring that the legacy power grid maintains a robust energy supply service to end users without compromising reliability, safety and integrity in power delivery.

Thus, the interconnectivity and interoperability of many heterogeneous systems and subsystems is a major area of concern.

Furthermore, building energy management systems to manage the complex smart grid is another challenge posed to the stakeholders.

Delivering Interconnectivity and Interoperability

The DoE recognized the need for smart grid interoperability standards in order to successfully deliver interconnectivity and interoperability. DoE requested NIST to lead and coordinate standards development for the smart grid. NIST has been granted 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.

The two key standardization areas of the smart grid are interoperability and cybersecurity. In 2009, NIST announced a three-phase plan to define the smart grid road map and frameworks and to achieve smart grid interoperability and cybersecurity standardization. This plan includes full collaboration and involvement of the power industry stakeholders and the domestic and international standards developing organizations, such as IEEE, NEMA, GWAC, ISO, IEC and ITU-T[1]. NIST also formed the SGIP, which will leverage existing standards, or develop standards where there are gaps for the emerging smart grid.

In response to NIST smart grid standardization activities, IEEE formed a smart grid interoperability standards guideline entity called P2030. P2030 consists of three task forces: TF 1 – Power Systems; TF 2 – Information Technology; and TF 3 – Communications Technology. The participants in P2030 are from an extremely diverse mix of industrial, academic and regulatory organizations. The TFs will define standard development guidelines to be used by the SGIP and other smart grid-related standards-developing organizations.

In summary, the smart grid interoperability standards will:

  • Support gradual transition of legacy power grid equipment and systems to the smart grid.
  • Specify compatibility and coexistence requirements of legacy and new technologies.
  • Avoid unnecessary and unwarranted compromise in reliability, safety and integrity during the lengthy transition period to the smart grid.
  • Provide applications and services that were not available in the legacy power grid; e.g., dynamic pricing, bidirectional energy distribution/redistribution.
  • Bring stakeholders together for common interconnectivity and interoperability (physical and data/information) benefiting all stakeholder business sectors, including end users.
  • Form the basis for developing effective, efficient, automated energy management systems that enable more robust, fault tolerant, failure resistant, and self correcting/recovery capabilities.

Raytheon is represented on all three P2030 task forces and on the SGIP. Partnering with industry experts and other organizations, Raytheon is helping to establish smart grid interoperability guidelines and standards early in the development process.

[1] IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, NEMA – National Electrical Manufacturers Association, GWAC – Gridwise Architectural Council, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, IEC – International Electro-Technical Commission, ITU-T – International Telecommunication Union- Standardization Sector

Howard Choe and Gordon Strachan

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