At DistribuTECH 2015 the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) has announced the launch of the OpenFMB Project, a special SGIP working group designed to leverage existing standards and structured processes to create a new paradigm for true interoperability and peer-to-peer communication across vendors' architecture that will increase business intelligence and operational efficiencies while allowing for secure and reliable communication and fast decision-making in the field.
The smart grid requires exchanging data between different devices from different manufacturers in the field. Traditional utility technologies are very often vendor silos utilizing proprietary hardware, telecommunications and software platforms. Duke Energy and six vendor companies formed a group called the “Coalition of the Willing” (COW) whose goal was to demonstrate that data and control commands can be shared across multiple vendor platforms (typically proprietary) to achieve interoperability with lower costs and faster response times. A key part of the demonstration was an open field message bus implemented as an open source project.
Duke Energy has announced the next phase of their interoperability project (COW II) with an expanded group of 25 vendor partners and a utility partner CPS Energy. The second phase will include the operation of a microgrid system which will integrate distributed renewable resources such as solar PV and battery storage with a field message bus-based distributed intelligence platform with wireless communications to devices.
For COW II Duke Energy defined a Distributed Intelligence Platform (DIP) Reference Architecture. According to Duke, the reference architecture is intended to document Duke Energy’s technology roadmap for interoperability using open standards-based distributed information systems. Part of the reference architecture is a field message bus. According to Duke the Field Message Bus (FMB) is intended to be an open standard-based, common logical publish/ subscribe interface that connects multiple disparate grid devices, telecom networks, and information systems. It is the key technology enabler to demonstrate the benefits of the distributed architecture by facilitating interoperability between multiple different vendor’s OT, IT, and telecom systems.
Starting with the Distributed Intelligence Platform reference architecture from the COW project, SGIP has defined the OpenFMB concept as the way distributed applications and open interfaces can enable interoperable peer-to-peer data exchanges between power systems devices. The OpenFMB framework provides a specification for power systems field devices to leverage a non-proprietary and standards-based reference architecture platform, which consists of internet protocol (IP) networking, Internet of Things (IoT) messaging protocols, and standardized common semantic models (such as CIM), to enable communications and peer-to-peer information exchange between devices on the electric grid.