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Book Review: Energy IoT Architecture: From Theory to Practice
- Mar 12, 2023 6:41 pm GMT
The book begins with some background on the energy transition as a driver behind the need to rethink the Energy business and the technical, architectural changes that will be needed to deal with the scale, scope and pace of change that accompanies the transition.
The book accurately pinpoints one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge; Scale. The grid is evolving from a centralized hub and spoke system of supply to a more decentralized model
This will increase the number of grid-connected assets from thousands to millions of devices, which leads to the need for a new architectural model, with far more design choices, which the book provides in detail, including references to specific standards that are needed to make the transition successful. The important role of cloud technologies is emphasized as one of the key ingredients to address the scalability challenge, referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
A three tier architectural stack view provides a “lay of the land” from business systems to digital ecosystems and operating technologies that are key to implementation, shown in table 4.3. My interests focus on cybersecurity so I was most interested in seeing how the new IIoT architecture would need to evolve to address the expansion of cybersecurity risks inherent with the expansion of DER supply resources and integration of these resources into electricity markets. The book makes a case for the need to consider the extreme scale of changes that come with the energy transition and offers insights to help manage these changes, such as the need for asset management and geographic information systems, as key components to keeping everything on the rails. Data is the key enabler and a data-centric architecture serves as the centerpiece of the solution. The importance of data cannot be overstated.
Chapter 7 is the key to unlocking the puzzle, do not skip this chapter describing the Digital Energy Services Platform, a/k/a “Green Cloud”, ref: Figure 7.2. The materials in this chapter focus on creating a true plug-and-play ecosystem that provides integrators with standards-driven microservices and adapters for integration, digital twins, big data scalability and, most important to me, trust services. The book doesn’t directly refer to zero trust, however many of the concepts are directly related to a zero trust architecture, as shown in the section on Security and Identity Management. There is considerable synergy between the materials contained in this book and the vision set out by the Department of Energy, ref: https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2022-10/Cybersecurity%20Considerations%20for%20Distributed%20Energy%20Resources%20on%20the%20U.S.%20Electric%20Grid.pdf
The book describes the need to rethink the way in which the energy industry operates from markets to grid operations and emphasizes the need to create an adaptable, flexible “Green Cloud”, data centric architecture in order to manage the scale, and pace of changes coming with the energy transition. As the author states, “Creating the Green Cloud Layer is nothing less than a moonshot opportunity for mankind”.
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