The primary requirements for Smart Grid evolution: Special Report

By Paul O'Shea, Editor, Power Electronics News

The Smart Grid concept is not new and there have been thousands of forums, talks, and papers given about it. I moderated a couple forums nearly a decade ago and really, the important points made then are still the important points now. We understood that the Smart Grid would be comprised of a power layer, communications and sensors layer, and a software layer. We knew that we would need control, security, and of course standards to be effective and to reliably communicate with the downstream power loads to turn them on/off as needed.

The number of standards necessarily increases as we refine requirements for the Smart Grid. Initially, it was about facilitating and managing connections and the operation of all energy sources, but that quickly became about optimizing energy use and delivering reliability and security. See the figure for a visual of just those from the IEC.

The Smart Grids standards map.

In September 2010 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued its first guidelines for smart grid cyber security, which includes high-level security requirements, a framework for assessing risks, an evaluation of privacy issues at personal residences, and additional information for businesses and organizations to use as they craft strategies to protect the modernizing power grid from attacks, malicious code, cascading errors and other threats. The report advocates a layered or “defense in depth” approach to security. Because cyber security threats are diverse and evolving, the report recommends implementing multiple levels of security. The guidelines identify 137 interfaces, which are points of data exchange or other types of interactions within or between different Smart Grid systems and subsystems. These are assigned to one or more of 22 categories on the basis of shared or similar functional and security characteristics. In all, the report details 189 high-level security requirements applicable either to the entire Smart Grid or to particular parts of the grid and associated interface categories. Download all three volumes of Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security (NISTIR 7628).

Simply producing a ‘smarter grid’ will not be sufficient to solve the problems with today’s electricity transmission and distribution systems. Key enablers will include the development of advanced energy measurement and control capabilities coupled with machine-to-machine communications incorporated into smart electronic devices ranging from appliances to electric vehicles, industrial equipment and even smart buildings. Maybe most-important will be the deployment of highly sophisticated intelligent microgrids including energy storage and generation to take the load entirely off the grid, instead of merely trying to manage existing loads and centralized energy generation resources with so-called smart grid technologies.

Reports that would-be saboteurs have already attempted to disrupt the security of the electrical power supply in the United States have added urgency to the need for cyber security for the emerging smart grid. As a result, one key condition for the smart grid funding was that the awardees incorporate strong security into their smart grid initiatives. The threat, in general, and these funding requirements in particular, will drive major investments in smart grid cyber security over the next several years, according to a report from Pike Research.

The Special Report articles:

We have a broad range of articles offering you the basics of the Smart Grid, thoughts on where the grid is going, ideas about security, smart meters, and what you need to better use the power from the grid. Let us know what you think.

The Smart Grid: What’s “the grid” and how is it “smart?”

The grid was launched in 1882 at the Pearl Street Station in New York City by inventor Thomas Edison. The current grid uses a limited one-way interaction where power flows from the power plant to the consumer. The Smart Grid, in contrast, introduces a two-way interchange where both electricity and information can be exchanged, in both directions, between the power utilities and the consumers.


Is your smart grid secured?

Although there is very little risk a hacker reaches a single Digital-PoL at board level, the risk increases exponentially as we move upward in the value chain. At a time when the numbers of renewable power sources, smart meters deploying, and connected devices to the Smart Grid are growing, what is the situation in terms of security? Are we safe?


Smart Grid evolution from power line components to electric cars

The advent of the Smart Grid actually forces us to make decisions as to what lives on the Smart Grid, and what makes a good citizen of that community. Ideally, the Smart Grid should facilitate the attachment of energy sources as well as energy consumers. These would include solar energy sources or wind farms, as well as plug-in electric vehicles.


How smart is it to deploy smart meters on the smart grid?

With a communications-enabled utility power meter finding its way into many homes going forward, utility companies and energy regulators seek to take advantage of the technology to improve energy conservation and awareness. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) could be networked with a series of other AMI meters and may employ satellite or low-cost radio links, depending upon the location.


What hardware and software upgrades are needed for use in a smart grid?

In the data center world, the need for redundancy means more power is allocated and paid for than is typically used. That power remains unused, and without a more sophisticated system in place, it is just stranded capacity, so this industry in particular could benefit from find new way to capture and utilize it.


20 minutes of energy storage isn’t enough for the grid today

A 45 minute video of a live event from IHS Markit and AES Energy Storage share insights from a decade of experience deploying energy storage projects and offer examples of how utility customers are already integrating storage into their grids. Everyone who registers for this webinar will receive a special report titled Reaching Peak Performance: What the electric power sector can learn from society’s other vital networks by Senior Principal Manager Sam Wilkinson. A download link will be sent to you and the report will also be available to download from the webinar console.


Quick points on power line communication for industrial M2M

Recently, Brite Semiconductor and Semitech Semiconductor collaborated on the development of an industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) system on chip (SoC) that will help transform the electric grid to the smart grid.


What is a BMS anyway?

Why do battery management systems (BMS) prices range from $10 to several thousand dollars if they all do the same thing? An appropriate parallel would be to ask why motorized transportation systems vary so greatly in price, with a motorized skateboard at one end of that spectrum and a transport truck at the other. Let’s take a closer look at how this analogy plays out with battery management systems.


Global market for Smart Grid IT and analytics for software and services to exceed $21.4 billion by 2026

The Market Data: Smart Grid IT Systems analyzes the global market for smart grid IT systems and analytics solutions. Global market forecasts for smart grid IT and analytics software, implementation and upgrade services, maintenance, and cloud-based revenue extend through 2026. The study covers 12 major smart grid IT systems, including four smart grid analytics applications: advanced distribution management systems, asset management systems, customer information systems, demand response management systems, distributed energy resource management systems, energy management systems, geographic information systems, meter data management systems, mobile workforce management systems, outage management systems, SCADA, and analytics.






BMZ and Victron Energy

The BMZ Energy Storage System (ESS), including the products ESS 7.0 and ESS 9.0 work perfectly with an inverter from Victron – the Victron Multigrid Inverter. This combination of energy storage system and inverter is a flexible solution for storing energy and optimizing energy consumption for home use. Energy storage solutions from BMZ and Victron make users independent from power companies and reduce electricity costs through personalized energy use.


Honeywell Introduces Home Energy Management Software for Utilities to Enhance Grid Stability

The software will help homeowners lower their energy costs and provide them with energy efficiency insights so they can see how their behaviors impact their monthly energy bills.


Schneider Electric announces new community established as part of EcoStruxure next gen architecture launch

The EcoStruxure architecture and platform delivers IoT-enabled solutions at scale for building, grid, industry and data center customers.


RTSoft introduces AMIGO (Advanced Microgrid Optimization), a vendor-independent and fully scalable network management software for the automatic and optimized control of individual microgrids in medium and low voltage structures. AMIGO’s control algorithms are used wherever energy is generated, stored, distributed and consumed locally as an addition to the standard feed-in from high and extra high-voltage grids. Applications can be found wherever microgrids are emerging today – from e-mobility charging stations, and facilities with combined photovoltaic installations and block heating power plants to public utilities supplying conurbations or large rural areas. More information at: https://www.rtsoft.de/en/


Tesvolt offers a battery storage system for electricity generated from renewable resources. It uses lithium-iron-phosphate batteries that provide 92% efficiency and a service life of 20 years. When charging and discharging the battery systems, almost no energy is lost, as the energy doesn’t flow from cell to cell, but each cell is controlled directly by the system. Get more info at: www.invest-in-saxony-anhalt.com/tesvolt


Business intelligence solution unlocks value of data for utilities

UnitySuite Business Intelligence is a way to extract actionable insight from diverse data streams across a utility. With this solution, different managers within a utility can run hundreds of different queries simultaneously, creating the dashboards and reports tailored to their needs and priorities, even if they vary from day to day.


Saft offers innovative smart grid substation installations

A two battery systems from Saft Batteries was supplied to French transmission grid operator RTE to provide vital backup power for its innovative Smart Substations Project. The battery systems will be the first Li-ion high-energy systems to be installed in a substation backup power application.

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