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NIST Smart Grid roadmap calls for common data semantics

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Smart Grid implementation requires a common semantical understanding of data elements, says the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a draft version 2.0 of its framework and roadmap for Smart Grid interoperability standards.

NIST posted the document, dated Oct. 17, online on Oct. 25. It proposes a conceptual model of the Smart Grid as defined by electrical flows and secure communications running between seven main domains: bulk generation, transmission, distribution, markets, operations, service providers and customers.

The networked Smart Grid should provide the capability of an application in one domain to communicate with an application in any other one (allowing for proper role restriction and other security controls), the draft says. Within each domain network, there likely will occur multiple sub-networks consisting of different transport methods and scope, the draft also says.  

A Smart Grid truly operating as envisioned--as an electrical grid system whose management and use is driven by data produced by all domains--is heavily dependent on the consistency of semantic models, the draft says.

The Smart Grid Architecture Committee, composed of industry and government officials, will work on definitions of semantic concepts and methodologies, the draft says.

The draft also emphasizes what it says is a "very important, forward-looking aspect" of the Smart Grid model, namely a logical distinction between an electric meter and the energy services interface.

A meter is a meter, the draft says, but the ESI is the "information management gateway through which the customer domain interacts with energy service providers."

Basic functions of an ESI include communicating price information or critical peak period signals as well as general usage information, plus advanced services which "are virtually limitless," the draft says.

For more:
- download the draft V.2 NIST framework and roadmap for Smart Grid interoperability standards (.pdf)

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