Introduction to Adopting the IEC Common Information Model to Enable Smart Grid Interoperability and Knowledge Representation Processes

Abstract Information interoperability is a key process underpinning the development of flexible and efficient electrical networks capable of integrating large-scale renewable and conventional energy technologies into smart grids to supply consumers with sustainable energy. The smart grid concept requires technologies ranging from smart meters to utility-level energy management systems to share information on an unprecedented scale. The availability of data and information about grid systems will also increase dramatically as the smart grid develops but its value and usefulness will depend on the degree to which it can be formed into representative knowledge of the real smart grid. At the heart of power utility and smart grid information interoperability is the IEC Common Information Model (CIM), a suite of open international standards addressing energy management, asset management, and market systems. This chapter dis- cusses the philosophy and processes underpinning smart grid information interoperability to enable power utilities to build and control the emerging smart grid and it elaborates upon how the CIM fits within a standardized power system interoperability framework. It will explain how model-driven information integration using the IEC CIM can be implemented by utilities to leverage the value and validity of data into realistic knowledge representations of smart grid reality and address the need for situational awareness, business intelligence, and process efficiency.


The grand vision for sustainability can be accredited to The Club of Rome’s report, ‘‘Limits to Growth’’ [1] for setting the stage upon which environmental sustain- ability was raised as a crucial issue alongside the economic development of society. Its theme was later championed by the UN-sponsored Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since then, in various legislative guises, sustainability has been receiving mixed acceptance into the triple bottom line of economics, society, and the environment. In recognition of the centrality of energy to all of these considerations however, there is a general acceptance of the need to link energy conversion and transfer with sustainability. The chapters of this book testify to the current pursuit for sustainable energy being an essential pillar supporting our continued presence on Earth, alongside others such as biodiversity and the availability of environmental services perhaps. The smart grid, as a principal means of integrating the conversion processes and transport of sustainable energy, addresses many of the parameters we associate with this new paradigm, including decarbonization, security of supply, energy security and infrastructure lifecycle refresh. It is thus an essential element in our pursuit of sustainability. What makes the smart grid smart is its ability to flexibly respond to changes in both supply and demand while maintaining an optimum economy and reliable service. This would not be possible without a high degree of intelligible interaction, known as inter- operability between its many systems and their components. The ‘‘integral com- ponent’’ of interoperability is effective information exchange, which like a shared language in linguistics enables parties speaking different native languages to understand each other. Understanding in this case depends on a common semantic model, syntactic agreements for message composition and knowledge of the context to which the information exchange is associated. Development of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) CIM aims to satisfy these essential requirements for enabling interoperability in support of a functional smart grid. However opportunities arise from wide deployment of common semantic model-driven applications, to leverage the value of data and measurements made for situational awareness into a closer representation of smart grid reality. Such knowledge representation reinforces the possibility that the smart grid could herald our evolution in energy management from the ‘‘age of information’’ into the ‘‘age of ‘intelligence,’’ a vision shared by the ‘‘Internet of Things’’ concept which is just as dependent on a semantic backbone [2]. This chapter will discuss these issues and present the theory behind interoperability in the context of the smart grid as well as the IEC CIM as an evolving core semantic model standard supporting smart grid interoperability and knowledge representation.

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