Figure 1: The EnergyIoT Common Reference Model
California has it right! In 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created the “Rule 21” mandate for integrating behind the meter Distributed Energy Resources (DER). This was primarily directed at rooftop solar that is being installed at record pace and is now a lawful requirement for all new construction. The ruling requires that all inverters connected to the grid must comply with IEEE 1547 interconnect requirements and one of three communications protocols:
- IEEE 2030.5
- SunSpec Modbus
Why? Plain and simple it is for one thing: INTEROPERABILITY! The CPUC created these requirements because:
- The state of California is committed to decarbonization and recognizes that a large number of new stakeholders, IoT assets, and intermittent generation and unanticipated loads will be key problems to tackle in order to be successful.
- DERs must increase resilience while maintaining current safety and reliability requirements
- Non utility owned DERs will need to support utilities and grid stability by providing grid services individually or through aggregation.
- New stakeholders are welcome and will be allowed to participate in utility grid services through customer programs and could also potentially participate in wholesale and local markets.
- Costs for integrating DERs into utility operations and markets must be simplified and relatively inexpensive to implement.
The CPUC recognized that having a small set of communications protocols and information models would help them achieve their aspiration of an interoperable grid that supports democratic participation and a decarbonized electricity ecosystem.
Why IEEE 2030.5?
2030.5 was previously named the Smart Energy Profile (SEP) and was developed by the Zigbee Alliance as a metering communication solution primarily to coordinate with behind the meter building energy devices. It was adopted and ratified by IEEE and is now on Version 2. But, the standard has been around since 2009 and has evolved to a very rich standard and a growing ecosystem supporting testing and certification for interoperability and security compliance. It is one of the few true “energy IoT” standards developed for modern grid communications, distributed intelligence, and interoperability. OpenFMB™ is another IoT standard that also has incredible implications to support a nimble and neural grid as it matures.