At the IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference (ISGT2013) in Washington, I had the opportunity to attend a tutorial on the status of smart grid interoperability standards presented by several people (Mladen Kezunovic, Texas A&M University, Steve Widergren, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Marty Burns, NIST, and David Wollman, Hypertek for NIST) who are associated with the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, or SGIP 2.0 Inc, as it is now known in its new incarnation as a private, non-profit.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) directed National Institute of Standtards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate a framework for the smart grid in the United States. Based on this mandate three years ago NIST created SGIP with a number of responsibilities, the primary one being to faciliate the development of standards for the the smart grid. It is important to understand that SGIP was not mandated to create standards but to create an open, big tent where stakeholders could come together and participate in an inclusive, consensus buidling process that balanced the persepctives of all the stakeholders including regulators, investor-owned, cooperative, and municipal utilities, vendors of electric power products and services, consumers, and government. In its first incarnation SGIP membership included 800 organizations, 1900 individual participants, and 22 stakeholder categories. In addition, SGIP collaborated with 22 different standards organizations.
In the past three years SGIP has been busy. The Catalog of Standards, a list of standards identified by SGIP as relevant to the smart grid, now includes 56 different standards. 10 of the 17 or so Priority Action Plans (PAPs) that SGIP initially targeted have been completed and closed. Other acomplishments include a reference model for the smart grid, a cybersecurity framework (NISTIR 7628), and the Interoperability Process Refernence Manual. SGIP has played an important role in facilitating the adoption of the Green Button (energy usage), OpenADR (energy schedule, common price, and demand response signals), and SEP 2 (electric vehicle information) standards.
But after three years it was felt that it is time for the private sector to take over the leadership role. Hence SGIP has become SGIP 2.0 Inc. SGIP 2.0 is a brand new international, private, non-profit. It's new Executive Director since about a week ago is Patrick Gannon and its new legal name is SGIP 2.0 Inc. To date SGIP 2.0 has signed up over a hundred members. At the IEEE PES tutorial Patrick Gannon said that new members are joining every day.
SGIP 2.0 is quite a different animal from the first generation SGIP. It is intended to be funded primarily by its members. There are now membership dues, where it used to be free. Its organization structure involves a large board of directors representing 22 different stakeholder groups. It has an Executive Director, several standing committees, PAP teams, working groups, international liaisons with Korea, Japan, the EU, Columbia and Ecuador, and government agencies NIST, FERC, and DoE. The Working Groups include a broad range of interests including buildings, electric vehicles, gas infrastructure, renewable energy, energy storage, and consumers.
SGIP's unique role
SGIP has a unique role to play because it takes a high level perspective on interoperability looking not only at the technical level, the domain of most electrical standards, but also at the aplication level, and most importantly the business process level.
Synchrophasors provide an interestng example. At the present time it is not possible to build a complete synchrophasor solution with products from a single vendor. Many standards have been developed to alow diferent deivices to talk to each other, to enable, for example, synchrophasors to talk to aggregators. But as was discovered during the blackout of 2003, and subseqently during the recemt San Diego blackout, taken all together they do not provide a foundation for solving a basic business problem, fault analysis. It took many months to piece together the data that allowed investigators to determine exaclty what happened in 2003 and in San Diego. Mladen Kezunovic's team developed an application built on existing devices to do this, but it required a lot of expensive customization and does not represent a cost effective industry solution.
An interesting aspect of fault analysis is identifying the grographic location of the fault which required integration with a GIS.
Green Button program
Another example is the Green Button program. I was at the Gridweek conference in September 2011 when Aneesh Chopra, then Federal CTO, challenged the electric utility industry to follow the example of the Veterans Affairs Blue Button program and implement a Green Button program to provide one click consumer access to their own electric power usage data. When it was finally rolled out, Green Button was an overnight success, but the standardization work than enabled it to be rolled out across the nation was years in the making and SGIP was directly involved in facililitating the development of the Green Button standard.
In response to this chalenge SGIP looked at two high level use cases. Frst, the case where the consumer downloads their own usage data. The second is even more important from an innovation perspective and addresses how the consumer can authorize third party access to their usage data on an ongoing basis for analysis. Based on this type of access, the third party can analyze their uage data and provide tools to help them to reduce their power usage. By looking at these use cases the SGIP team was able to identify gaps in the existing standards being developed by several groups including OpenADE, NAESB, and others. SGIP brought these groups together and joinfly arrived at the Green Button standard that is managed by NAESB. The Green Button standard was subsequenty rolled out and consumers now not only have access to their usage data for download, but can also authorize third party access to their usage data.
Green Button is dramatically changing the consumer's relationship with the power utility. Perhaps even more importantly from an economic point of view it is encouraging innovation in technology and applications to help consumers use power better. DoE estimates that currently 16 million consumers have access to their electric power usage data via a Green Button service provided by their power utility. DoE expects that a further 30+ million will be getting Green Button access soon. One of the very successful programs that DoE ran recently was the Apps for Energy competition. DoE offered $100,000 to software developers for the best new apps that help utility customers make the most of their Green Button electricity usage data. You can see the 56 winners listed here.