The Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office supports NIST’s statutory responsibility to coordinate standards development for smart grid interoperability. A three-phase plan has been implemented to fulfill this responsibility, and Testing and Certification is its third phase. The Smart Grid Testing and Certification Project provides overall coordination and leadership of NIST technical activities for standards-based interoperability test programs within the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) and key committees and activities associated with Smart Grid testing and certification. This includes development support for emerging Smart Grid test programs, collaboration with standards setting organizations to assure test readiness of standards, and outreach to key stakeholders to encourage the adoption of industry accepted test programs.
Objective: To accelerate new and or improve existing test programs for Smart Grid interoperability and security utilizing the SGIP testing and certification framework and demonstrating benefits of testing and certification to end users and regulators by 2016.
What is the new technical idea? Currently, very few smart grid standards have associated industry recognized test programs, and those programs that exist are primarily conformance-based, limited in scope relative to interoperability. This lack of available test programs, particularly the lack of focus on interoperability, greatly inhibits the proliferation of interoperable smart grid deployments. The key technical idea is to eliminate the gaps in testing programs that are a barrier to the availability of the interoperable and secure products that are a foundation for enabling new smart grid system functionality. This functionality relies on interoperability standardization, international harmonization of these standards and accelerated availability of associated testing and certification programs and resources that further support interoperability. Through a focus on interoperability combined with NIST expertise in measurement characterization, NIST will develop the measurement science and supporting measurement and test procedures necessary to ensure that the performance of the smart grid at the system, subsystem, and end-user levels can be measured, controlled, and optimized to meet performance requirements, especially for safety and security, reliability and resilience, agility and stability and evolvability, and energy efficiency.
More specifically, this project provides high-level programmatic coordination, technical input, and outreach and collaboration with major stakeholder groups within the smart grid eco-system to support and accelerate smart grid testing and certification development for key smart grid standards. A major aspect of this program is the collaboration with stakeholders to establish test programs and to better ensure the benefits of rigorous test programs are demonstrated to purchasers, regulators and vendors, thus embedding a de facto requirement that the ecosystem will demand Smart Grid products are tested and certified.
What is the research plan? Much of our work on this particular project will be performed through the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office staff involvement with the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), particularly the SGIP Testing and Certification Committee (SGTCC). Through these leadership and coordination activities, key gaps and barriers to progress in testing and certification programs are identified resulting in organization and implementation of SGIP level responses.
Standards provide a strong foundation to enable interoperability, but do not directly ensure interoperability. Additionally, conformance to standards alone does not ensure end to end interoperability across multiple systems and devices, where multiple standards interact across the many interfaces along the path. Testing and certification programs are the key element that provides the necessary validation of interoperability. SGIP Testing and Certification Committee activities will be used to facilitate and accelerate a testing and certification framework which can be used across smart grid ecosystem to develop Smart Grid Test Programs that also ensure a level of consistency between test labs’ results and certification bodies’ outputs. Areas of work focus will include:
- Interoperability Process Reference Manual (IPRM) implementation support and requirements refinement – testing programs tend to serially follow standards development. As such, testing programs implementing SGIP recommendations are at a very early stage. There is a strong need to support emerging test programs that address recognized industry gaps and to assure that these programs are addressing stakeholder expectations; development of metrics and impartial processes to assess program acceptance will play a key role in these efforts; lessons learned in program development will be incorporated into future revisions of the IPRM.
- Standards test readiness analysis and test landscape review – acceleration and proliferation of new test programs will require thorough evaluation of standards proposed for the SGIP Catalog of Standards, as well as continued assessment of gaps and priority test needs based on the overall industry landscape of test program availability; these initiatives also require an active feedback loop and collaboration with standards setting organizations to advocate the advancement of their activities that help address these gaps.
- Industry outreach and advocacy for test program development – keys to broader availability of interoperable systems and devices is end user demand; demand is generated by demonstrating the value of testing programs and efficiencies in the adoption of common practices that benefit domestic utilities, global entities and the vendor base that seeks global standards and internationally accepted testing programs that minimize the need for multiple customized programs – broadly accepted programs help to drive down costs to all stakeholders and accelerate availability of advanced products that are deployment ready.
- This initiative is supported by the common test case/use case processes being developed within the SGTCC; collaboration with global utilities, national/international standards bodies and authorities having jurisdiction will drive the demand that accelerates the availability of interoperable products.
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