Siemens has developed an architectural model for configuring smart grid projects. The Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM), can be used for the visualisation, validation and configuration of projects and also for standardisation within smart grids.
The foundation of the SGAM architecture model is the smart grid level that spans the domains of the power generation and conversion as well as the zones of power system management. Interoperability is depicted by the five superimposed model layers; Component, Communication, Information, Function and Business. The model makes it possible to display and compare different approaches to smart grid solutions so that differences and commonalities between various paradigms, roadmaps, and points of view can be detected.
Aspects of interoperability have been taken into account as well as issues of availability, information security and energy efficiency. The developers designed migration scenarios for an existing installed base and also allowed for the fact that development of a power system into a comprehensive smart grid is an evolutionary process. That’s why the outcome was not so much a blueprint of a smart grid architecture but rather a method for the validation of smart grid elements’ interactions.
There has already been experience with the practical application of the model in the areas of standardisation, pilot projects and industry. As far as standardisation functions are concerned, the cross-domain smart grid Demand Response function was mapped to the layers of the model and tested to see if it’s supported by existing information and communications standards. Recommendations for extending the scope of the standards were derived from the results.
Implementing a smart grid is a complex process, often with extended discussion and consultation on what it’s supposed to do and how before any decisions are taken, let alone money spent. That’s certainly the case in the UK, partly due to a more complex market structure, but it’s going to be an issue everywhere, particularly in Europe.
A smart grid means different things to different parties, all with vested interests, so bringing views together is a challenge. The Siemens model seems to be a way of short-circuiting at least some of those discussions by identifying potential issues and conflicts at an early stage. And time is an issue.