IEEE Standards Enable a Modern, Intelligent Grid

By Steven Collier

The emergence of a modern, intelligent grid involves a proliferation of new technologies, components and methods. Utilities, customers and non-utility providers are changing the way that the grid operates. Industry standards are crucial in establishing objective definitions and assurance of capability and functionality thereby safeguarding safety, reliability, security, compatibility, integration, interoperability, scalability, and upgradeability. The IEEE is uniquely qualified to lead the industry in the development of smart grid standards and continues to make substantial progress in doing so.

Beginning with Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street Station in the late 1800s, rapid improvement in technology, persistent economies of scale, declining prices, exponential growth in energy consumption, and favorable business circumstances supported the development a wondrous electric utility grid architecture and marvelous industry business model.

This was accomplished with a remarkable degree of integration and interoperability, which in turn ensured economy, safety, security. This was largely due to industry wide adoption of shared standards for equipment and operations. And, after the “Great Northeast Blackout” of 1965 and the advent of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, inter-utility cooperation grew in system planning and operations.

The OPEC oil embargo in 1973 marked an inflection point after which both grid adequacy and the traditional electric utility business model began to erode. Economies of scale were eroded by risk. Declining prices were reversed by rising costs. Grid expansion and operation were constrained by concerns about environmental and economic sustainability. Bulk power grid costs began to rise. Demand growth slowed and, in the past few years, consumption has actually declined.

Even if none of these adverse developments had occurred, new technologies and business models began disrupting the industry. New ways of producing and using power and energy emerge. New providers bring them to market. Much if not most of this new action is engaging directly with the millions of retail customers and not constrained to dealing with the few thousand incumbent utilities.

As a result, new grid electric grid models are emerging. There is a profusion of distributed energy resources (DER) occasioned by exponential improvement in technologies along with innovative, entrepreneurial business models. These include renewable and other energy production, energy storage, energy monitoring / management systems, smart end use devices, electric vehicles, microgrids, smart buildings, even smart cities. A plethora of non-utility companies are entering the market as providers of DER and related products and services as well as new smart grid technologies and applications.

Amidst this growing scope and diversity of sources and uses, sensors and data, systems and controls, products and services, there are serious problems with lack of integration and interoperability. This not only limits functionality, but also scalability and upgradeability. It also adversely effects safety, security, and sustainability. This is where industry standards, and especially IEEE Smart Grid Standards enter the picture to better enable the transition to the new smart grid.

Industry standards are generally accepted requirements for materials, products, and services that are agreed to and complied with by members of an industry. Once accepted widely in an industry, they may be promulgated in published documents detailing specifications and procedures, consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted, and processes for creation, maintenance, and updating. Standards are crucial in establishing objective definitions and assurance of capability and functionality thereby safeguarding safety, reliability, security, compatibility, integration, interoperability, scalability, and upgradeability.

Standards can significantly reduce time-to-market for new products. It makes it easier for customers to understand and compare competing products. Only through standards can an industry ensure integration, interconnectivity and interoperability and verify the credibility of new products.

The IEEE Standards Association mission is “Advancing technology for the benefit of humanity by providing a globally open, inclusive and transparent environment for market relevant, voluntary consensus” standardization. One of the most compelling thing about IEEE smart grid standards is that the supply and utilization of electric power and energy is so intrinsic to quality of life, productivity of business and advancement of civilization.

The IEEE Standards Association is one of the world’s largest, most diverse and most sophisticated standards development organizations (SDO). The IEEE today has more than 1,000 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. Among the most notable are the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN standards which include IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networking (i.e., the Wi-Fi standards). The Wi-Fi standards have made it possible for well defined functionality, convenient, seamless integration and interoperability for many millions of customers worldwide. The smart grid needs the same level of “out of the box, plug and play” functionality and interoperability. IEEE Standards Association is making this happen.

The IEEE Standards Association Operating Principles are:

  • Due process - which means having highly visible procedures for standards creation and following them. Procedures are set by the IEEE-SA Standards Boards, the IEEE Societies that sponsor standards, and the working groups that actually formulate standards;
  • Openness - which ensures all interested parties can participate actively in the IEEE standards development process;
  • Consensus, which holds that a clearly defined percentage of those in a balloting group vote to approve a draft of a standard;
  • Balance, which ensures that balloting groups include all interested parties and avoid an overwhelming influence by one party; and
  • Right of appeal, which allows anyone to appeal a standards development decision at any point, before or after a standard has been approved.

The IEEE Standards Association has a Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP) which extends the standards lifecycle by advancing and accelerating market adoption of conforming products through compliance testing. By drawing together subject matter experts (SMEs) from industry, ICAP develops and maintains an independent and industry-accepted conformity assessment program related to IEEE standards.

IEEE Smart Grid has identified a group of Smart Grid Domains and Sub-Domains, all of which are under continuing evaluation and revision. These are a convenient and powerful way to organize IEEE’s knowledge of smart grid principles and technologies as well as to organize standards development.

This is a framework within which IEEE Smart Grid continues to advance the state of the art in Smart Grid, including IEEE Smart Grid Standards via this framework:

Consider couple of representative examples of IEEE Smart Grid Standards:

IEEE Standard 2030-2011

IEEE Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power system (EPS), End-Use Applications, and Loads

The first all-encompassing IEEE standard on smart grid interoperability providing a roadmap directed at establishing the framework in developing an IEEE national and international body of standards based on cross-cutting technical disciplines in power applications and information exchange through communications. Establishes the smart grid interoperability reference model (SGIRM) and provides a knowledge base addressing terminology, characteristics, functional performance and evaluation criteria, and the application of engineering principles for smart grid interoperability of the electric power system with end-use applications and loads. It defines three integrated architectural perspectives: power systems, communications technology and information technology.

IEEE Standard 1547.3-2007

IEEE Guide for Monitoring, Information Exchange, and Control of Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems

This guide is intended to facilitate the interoperability of distributed resources (DR) and help DR project stakeholders implement monitoring, information exchange, and control (MIC) to support the technical and business operations of DR and transactions among the stakeholders. This guide incorporates information modeling, use case approaches, and a pro forma information exchange template and introduces the concept of an information exchange interface.

For more information, visit the IEEE Smart Grid Standards Resource page.

The emergence of a modern, intelligent grid has resulted in a proliferation of new technologies, components and methods. Utilities, customers and non-utility providers are changing the way that the grid operates. Industry standards are crucial in establishing objective definitions and assurance of capability and functionality thereby safeguarding safety, reliability, security, compatibility, integration, interoperability, scalability, and upgradeability. The IEEE is uniquely qualified to lead the industry in the development of smart grid standards and has made substantial progress in doing so. IEEE welcomes the participation of everyone in the industry in this continuing process.

For a downloadable copy of  October 2016 eNewsletter which includes this article, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center.

Contributors 

 

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Steve Collier is Director of Smart Grid Strategies at Milsoft Utility Solutions. He is Milsoft’s resident \ expert and industry thought leader, who as a nationally recognized thought leader writes, speaks and consults on issues, technologies and applications for a modern intelligent grid. Beginning at Houston Lighting & Power in the early 1970s, he has worked as a professional, executive or consultant with energy, telecommunications and technology companies in the US and abroad. Steve has B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Houston and Purdue University, respectively. Collier is an IEEE Technical Expert on new and emerging energy, telecom and information technologies and their applications for a modern, intelligent grid. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn. Follow Steve on Twitter @smartgridman and his blog at smartgridman.com. .


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