Towards Smarter Cities and Smarter Grids

IEC work advances urban environments and the best use of energy

By Janice Blondeau

By 2050, it is projected that the world population will reach 9.6 billion1. Moreover if current trends continue, 67% of these people are predicted to be living in cities. Hand-in-hand with these projections comes the need for sustainable, reliable solutions for the transmission, distribution and use of energy resources. Smart Cities and Smart Grids, underpinned by the work of the IEC, offer robust responses to the myriad of challenges that regulators, utilities, local, regional and national governments face today and in the future.

Smart cities will be better able to meet the increasing energy needs and environmental challenges in urban environments
Smart cities will be better able to meet the increasing energy needs and environmental challenges in urban environments

Sometimes invisible but always a vital role

Smart cities will be better able to meet the increasing energy needs and environmental challenges in urban environments. They will also offer improved quality of life for the millions of city-dwellers worldwide. Many services in cities and buildings are directly or indirectly dependent on electricity and electronics. The most obvious is the electric infrastructure that carries electricity to and within buildings, and to other utilities such as water, gas and telecommunications. 

Transportation systems, medical facilities, shopping centres, schools and factories all depend upon electricity to function, and this list is almost endless. As electricity and electronics are the key enablers of cities’ development, IEC has a specific role to play in the development of International Smart City Standards.

At the International Standards level...

The myriad of IEC TCs (Technical Committees) that enable the development of Smart Cities include:

  • IEC TC 8: Systems aspects for electrical energy supply, which prepares and coordinates, in co-operation with other IEC TCs, the development of International Standards that focus on overall system aspects of electricity supply systems.
  • IEC TC 57: Power systems management and associated information exchange, covers communications between equipment and systems in the electric power industry – a central element in smart buildings, Smart Cities and Smart Grid projects.

Smart buildings in Smart Cities

IEC International Standards cover a broad range of systems, equipment and applications that are used in the construction and maintenance of smart buildings. These include lighting, automation, access control, energy systems, appliances, elevators and escalators, among others. The work of IEC TCs also plays a vital role in helping to ensure safety and interoperability.

The big picture

The SMB (Standardization Management Board) SEG 1 (Systems Evaluation Group) on Smart Cities is identifying the many electrotechnical systems that are found in cities, with a view to integrating and optimizing them. The Smart Cities Group is preparing a reference architecture and standardization roadmap in cooperation with different organizations, fora and consortia.

In parallel, the IEC MSB (Market Strategy Board) is preparing a high-level White PaperOrchestrating infrastructure for sustainable Smart Cities. It outlines how cities can move towards smartness – the what, who and how of smart city development. The development of this White Paper was led by the IEC MSB (Market Strategy Board) project team on Smart Cities in cooperation with CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies). The MSB brings together the CTOs of leading international companies.

Smart Grids key to meeting future energy needs

In the future, many national and regional grids, even if they are seemingly geographically isolated, will need to be able to communicate with each other across borders and even continents.   By using consensus built IEC International Standards users achieve built-in interoperability on a global scale.

IEC Technical Committees active in Smart Grids include:

  • SC (Subcommittee) 8A, which develop International Standards for the grid integration of large-capacity RE (renewable energy) generation, which is set to play a central role in future energy supply and smart projects.
  • TC 82 and TC 88 cover generation from photovoltaic and wind energy sources respectively, integral offerings in the overall portfolio of Smart Grid Standards.
  • PC (Project Committee) 118: Smart Grid user interface, whose work covers information exchange for demand response and connecting demand side equipment and/or systems into the Smart Grid.
  • TC 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation, and its SCs, as well as TCs involved in storage (rechargeable batteries) and fuel cell technologies (TC 21 and TC 105, respectively).

The way ahead

For Smart Grid applications, the IEC published a Smart Grid Standardization Roadmap in 2010 and has defined a range of Standards, among them Standards for substation control (IEC 61850), energy (IEC 61970) and distribution management (IEC 61968) and meter reading (IEC 62056).

The CIM (Common Information Model) for Distribution and Energy Management (IEC 61970 family of Standards) provides a CIM necessary for exchanges of data between devices and networks, primarily in the transmission (IEC 61970) and distribution (IEC 61968) domains, and is a cornerstone of IEC Smart Grid standardization.

A bird’s eye view of Smart Grid Standards

The IEC has developed a free online system which can position a given Standard in relation to its role within the Smart Grid, IEC Smart Grid Standards Map.

Developed in 2013 by IEC Standardization Management Board SG (Strategic Group) 3: Smart Grid, the IEC Smart Grid Standards Map provides fast and automatic identification of all the Standards that apply to a given domain of the Grid in a matter of seconds. Using a diagram or a list view, users can drill down to a specific aspect, and then see a list of the Standards that relate to it.

SG 3 Smart Grid was transformed into the SEG (Systems Evaluation Group) 2 Smart Grid, and in June 2014 SEG 2 became SyC (Systems Committee) Smart Energy. (see side bar for more on SyC Smart Energy).

IEC Systems Committee on Smart Energy

The IEC’s first Systems Committee, SyC Smart Energy, has recently been established, following approval by IEC National Committees. The scope of the SyC Smart Energy is to provide systems-level standardization, coordination and guidance across Smart Grid and Smart Energy, including interaction in the areas of heat and gas. It will widely consult to provide overall systems-level support and guidance to the TCs and other standards development groups, both inside and outside the IEC. SyC Smart Energy will liaise and cooperate closely with the SEG Smart Cities and future SEGs, as well as the future Systems Resource Group.

 

1 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, Highlights and Advance Tables. Working Paper No.ESA/P/WP.228.

IEC systems approach to Smart Cities and Smart Grids

Jack Sheldon, IEC Standardization Strategy Manager, explains why the organization is taking a systems view…

One of the topics that we have identified and are focussing on is a systems approach to standardization, which is in part stimulated by accelerating technological integration and the advent of these ever more complex systems. The systems approach is designed to facilitate handling this complexity and also to provide a neutral, independent platform on which different organizations can cooperate.

The complexity of the world we live in today and technology convergence means that we need a new approach to tackle these subjects. The systems approach that we have in the IEC is intended to be a response to the challenges of Smart Cities.

To me “Smart Cities” means making optimum use of the infrastructure and resources of our cities – using the smartness to better utilize capacity than we could otherwise.

Next time you hear the terms Smart Cities and Smart Grids, you’ll know that the IEC is not far away.

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Smart cities will be better able to meet the increasing energy needs and environmental challenges in urban environments Smart cities will be better able to meet the increasing energy needs and environmental challenges in urban environments
IEC International Standards cover a broad range of systems, equipment and applications that are used in the construction and maintenance of smart buildings IEC International Standards cover a broad range of systems, equipment and applications that are used in the construction and maintenance of smart buildings
The IEC systems approach is intended to be a response to the challenges of Smart Cities The IEC systems approach is intended to be a response to the challenges of Smart Cities