Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Targets Standards, Interoperability for Mission Goals

By Joe Francica

Directions Magazine (DM): Can you explain how SGIP participates with standards bodies such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)? What current or future accomplishments do you anticipate will better integrate location technologies with smart grid specifications?
Blaine Kohl, Director of Marketing and Membership, SGIP: The theme of SGIP’s activities has been “accelerate, accelerate, accelerate.”  SGIP members are relentless in their pursuit of harmonizing Smart Grid standards for improved interoperability and have been intent on breaking down barriers between standards development and other affected associations, manufacturers, vendors and utility companies. In the eyes of SGIP, a robust Catalog of Standards is the best tool to encourage the adoption of grid modernization technologies and achieve a robust, resilient and secure global grid.
 
DM: During your first year review, SGIP noted that the Smart Grid Cybersecurity Committee had completed mapping of critical infrastructure protection (CIP) v.5 to National Institute of Standards and Technology Interagency Report (NISTIR) 7628 (Introduction, volume 1). Can you briefly describe the interoperability standards adopted and how they might impact organizations that are using mapping technology today, such as utility companies and local governments?
Tanya Brewer, Senior Information Technology Researcher, Computer Security Division , Systems and Emerging Technologies Security Research Group; Marianne Swanson, Senior Advisor, Information Systems Security, NIST; Victoria Yan Pillitteri, IT Security Specialist, NIST: The Smart Grid Cybersecurity Committee (SGCC) has completed a mapping of the high-level security requirements found in NISTIR 7628, “Guidelines for Smart Grid Cybersecurity,” to the security requirements found in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Draft NERC CIP v5.  The analysis identified any potential gaps in requirements and controls between the NISTIR 7628/NIST SP 800-53, “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations” and NERC CIP v5, with the understanding that each document has a unique scope and purpose.  The purpose of the mapping is to show the relationship, similarities and differences between the documents (our mapping did not involve using mapping technology to map IT/OT systems).  It is not the assertion of the SGCC that each document should cover all the identified gap areas.  The output of the mapping exercise may be used by utilities and local governments to see how implementing the high-level security requirements in NISTIR 7628 facilitate meeting the requirements of the Draft CIP v5.
DM: What are the immediate goals and priorities of the SGCC in articulating protocols and standards in order to thwart attacks and return the grid to service should a breach occur? Will it recommend an IT architecture that lessens the risk? How will cybersecurity threats be monitored and located?
Tanya Brewer, Senior Information Technology Researcher, Computer Security Division , Systems and Emerging Technologies Security Research Group; Marianne Swanson, Senior Advisor, Information Systems Security, NIST;  Victoria Yan Pillitteri, IT Security Specialist, NIST: In the immediate future, NIST will be releasing a revised version of NISTIR 7628 for public comment drafted by the SGCC.  The SGCC’s Standards Subgroup continues to review the cybersecurity portions of standards being proposed for inclusion in the SGIP’s Catalog of Standards. The reviews should be used by implementers to supplement their implementation of the standards. 
 
Implementing the high-level security requirements found in NISTIR 7628, as well as utilizing other sources, such as the Department of Energy’s Risk Management Process and the Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, will help counter threats and improve the resiliency of the Smart Grid.
DM: The SGIP Architecture Committee (SGAC) is working on a conceptual model for interoperability. Can you explain the domain hierarchy and architecture, especially as it pertains to grid infrastructure and physical assets?
Dr. Ken Wacks, Management and Engineering Consultant: Interoperability is a very important concept to SGIP. There is a universal need across the industry for applications from different manufacturers to be able to work with one another. That’s the key to interoperability.  Most of the elements that make a grid are “open loop” – meaning we don’t have much visibility into the grid from transmission to distribution to our customers. For example, most utilities don’t know about a power outage until customers call. This shows the need for more observation and control abilities within the grid, which can be done by integrating more sensors and communication networks to tie the grid together. 
DM: Does the SGIP expect to advise members on using building information models to support energy efficiency? Does it intend to work with the BuildingSMART Alliance for grid-to-home specifications?
Dave Hardin, Vice Chair of SGAC and a Board member, Senior Director, SmartGrid Standards; Ron Ambrosio as an ex-officio member of the Board, IBM Distinguished Engineer & CTO, Smarter Energy Research: The Smart Grid Conceptual Model was developed several years ago, prior to the formation of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel.  Several members of the current SGIP Architecture Committee were part of the 15-person team that defined that model, and it was published as part of NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Framework document.  That model defines seven organizational domains: bulk generation, transmission, distribution, customer (including residential, commercial and industrial), markets and services.  Another foundational document used by the SGIP Architecture Committee is the GridWise Architecture Council's (GWAC) Context Setting Interoperability Framework (or GWAC Stack), published in 2007.  It defines eight layers that must address interoperability in a smart grid: basic connectivity, network interoperability, syntactic interoperability, semantic interoperability, business context, business procedures, business objectives and economic/regulatory policy.
 
The European Union's (EU) Smart Grids - Coordination Group's (SG-CG) Reference Architecture Working Group used the Conceptual Model and the GWAC Stack as a starting point, and added a third dimension called zones to create the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM). The zones refer to the functional hierarchy of the smart grid: process, field, station, operation, enterprise and market.  There has been extremely productive cooperation and collaboration between the North American and EU architecture groups; both have a common goal of maintaining a single architecture model that addresses the commonalities and differences between the regions of the world, and the SGIP Architecture Committee has incorporated the SGAM into its work.
 
The SGIP Architecture Committee also developed a Smart Grid Conceptual Architecture based on the above frameworks and models, and an extensive requirements analysis.  The Conceptual Architecture is a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) view of smart grids, defining services and the inputs and outputs.  
 
The SGIP Architecture Committee continues to expand the detail in the resulting architecture model: current work is in the area of role and actor definitions that identify the different functional participants (actors) and their activities (roles) in the operation of a smart grid. An example of a smart grid business service would be Forecast Resources, which has inputs of contract, topology and availability, and a forecast as the single output.  Topology in this case refers to the electric grid topology, which has both an electrical representation and a physical representation.
 
Smart Grids are an enormously complex subject, but a great deal of progress has been made in recent years, and there continues to be important work going on in all the groups mentioned above, and in many others, to develop the architecture definitions, operational requirements, business model understanding and ultimately a broad set of coordinated standards and policy recommendations.

Published Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Written by Joe Francica


If you liked this article subscribe to our newsletter...stay informed on the latest geospatial technology

© 2016 Directions Media. All Rights Reserved.