NIST/IEEE Workshop, “Timing Challenges in the Smart Grid,” Brings Diverse Stakeholders Together (October 26, 2016)

A lively workshop—held October 26 at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland—brought together 80 experts from a wide range of organizations to discuss timing challenges in the smart grid. The workshop provided an opportunity for the diverse stakeholders from utilities, system integrators, national labs, academia, and government to learn about each other’s expertise and needs, as well as future plans and priorities.

In addition to those attending the workshop in person, nearly 100 other individuals followed along online on the workshop webcast. The webcast, along with the presentations, is archived on the workshop webpage.

Precision timing—such as one microsecond synchronization to a traceable time and frequency reference—is an issue of growing interest and concern to engineers and scientists working with the smart grid and other cyber-physical systems. The greatly expanded use of synchrophasors for wide area monitoring, along with the increasing use of traveling wave fault detection and other new technologies, requires precision timing. These new capabilities offer increased flexibility to grid operators, but they also raise time-related security concerns.

At the workshop, those opportunities, concerns, and challenges were addressed in a unique forum composed of power system experts, timing experts, and communications experts. The outcomes of the workshop will inform a NIST report summarizing the challenges and potential solutions for wide-area clock synchronization as well as

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), now entering its third year, embarked on a new phase with the SuperCluster Kickoff Event, held in Washington, D.C., on October 25-26, 2016. At the two-day event, over 250 participants from local government, industry, non-profits, universities, and international cities began work on “SuperClusters”—multi-city, multi-stakeholder deployments of smart city projects in sectors such as energy, transportation, and public safety.
The creation of these multi-team SuperClusters will enable existing GCTC action clusters to work together, thereby increasing the scale and impact of their efforts.
 
The Kickoff Event, held at the Grand Hyatt Washington, began with a half-day plenary session featuring talks by smart city leaders representing both federal and local government. The program continued with one-and-a-half days of working sessions that led to the establishment of “Seed SuperClusters” in six areas. In the coming weeks, each of these SuperClusters will be meeting regularly by conference call as they begin developing blueprints and implementation plans.
Here is contact information for those wishing to get involved in one of these “Seed SuperClusters”:

Sokwoo Rhee said, “We also expect to see additional SuperClusters being formed as a result of discussions and collaborations that began at the Kickoff Event. During the first few months of 2017, each SuperCluster will be holding a face-to-face meeting to solidify and accelerate project implementation.”

One of the upcoming face-to-face SuperCluster meetings—focusing on the Transportation SuperCluster—will be held February 1-2, 2017, In Portland, Oregon.  Portland General Electric (PGE), an SGIP member company, is a leading sponsor of the event. (Agenda and registration details are available online.)

Among the cities playing lead roles in the SuperCluster effort are those cities who recently received grant funding through NIST’s Replicable Smart City Technologies (RSCT) Cooperative Agreement Program.  Earlier this fall, four projects, involving eleven cities and communities, were selected for RSCT funding. These projects involve these communities taking a lead role in one key element of the overall program—establishing measurable performance metrics, thereby helping drive the adoption of replicable, standards-based solutions that improve the quality of life for residents of communities of all sizes.

The four RSCT projects, described below, address important public issues such as urban air pollution, flood prediction, and rapid emergency response for seniors endangered by in-home accidents.

  • The City of Portland, Oregon, will use low-cost sensors to improve air quality and the environment throughout the Portland area.
  • Montgomery County, Maryland, will use its Safe Community Alert (SCALE) project, which links sensors in seniors’ homes with emergency responders, to reduce the number of senior deaths due to in-home accidents.
  • The City of Bellevue, Washington, will improve city-wide interconnectivity of department systems—including police and fire, civic services, transportation, utilities, environmental, and IT departments—to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all city staff.
  • The City of Newport News, Virginia, will use sensors and computer modeling to predict flood events to improve emergency response and reduce loss of life and property. Eight cities and communities in Virginia’s Tidewater region are participating in this project.