Open source API to consolidate devices on the smart grid

Open source API to consolidate devices on the smart grid

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The LF Energy open source project has launched a scalable and technology-agnostic industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows smart grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control and manage devices on the grid.

Formerly known as Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP), GXF was created by Dutch distribution system operator Alliander. This is the first contribution by the company to the open-source community since joining LF Energy, part of the Linux Foundation, last October.

In recent years, grid operators have added operational hardware to the power grid that gathers data through IoT sensors to garner better insight into infrastructure performance. Coupled with utility operational changes are the millions of distributed energy devices coming onto the grid, each of which requires vastly different tools and processes to ensure interoperability. The aim of GXF is to decrease the overall complexity and associated maintenance costs of accessing these devices by creating a single generic method of abstracting data access.

Alliander is already using GXF to manage public street lights in the Netherlands. Other smart grid operators have applied GXF as the head-end system, which allows for maximum data flexibility between smart meters and network operators, while some have used GXF to manage microgrids. Broadly, GXF will be used as a generic connectivity layer to collect and direct large volumes of data for asset monitoring and analytics. In this way, grid operators are preparing themselves to manage torrents of data at the edge of the grid through GXF.

“We have the tools necessary to make our power grid more efficient and better for our environment, but we’re running into a system integration problem at a global scale,” said Dr Shuli Goodman, executive director of LF Energy. “Grid operators need a way to cut through the noise of different data access protocols to pull insights from smart devices directly. With the addition of GXF, the Grid eXchange Fabric, we will leverage the shared expertise of our community to tackle this problem head on.”

“GXF was originally created for our customers to manage some of their more time- and cost-consuming tasks,” saids Arjan Stam, Director of Systems Operations at Alliander and member of LF Energy’s Governing Board. “But one of our wishes was always to create an independent foundation to facilitate the project and provide it with a neutral home. With LF Energy, we’ve found that home, and we’re looking forward to working with the community there to take GXF to new heights.”

GXF is LF Energy’s seventh project. Additional projects include OperatorFabric, a smart assistant for system operators; PowerSyBl, a high-performance computing framework for grid simulation and planning; RIAPS, a distributed energy developer platform for smart grid apps like microgrids and wind generation; OpenEEMeter, a consistent treatment of energy meter data for demand flexibility; Energy Market Methods Consortium (EM2) standards that support demand-side flexibility markets; and OEDI, a data platform to enable advanced analytics and research innovation.

In addition to Alliander, LF Energy now has 32 members, including Wind River, Cloud Bees, Elering and Monash University, who all joined in January 2020 as General Members.


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