Talking sync strategies for smart grids

How can utility networks achieve the assured PNT services they need to stay operational and online? Time to consider the future of smart grid synchronization.
Power pylon

Long Beach, California is a nice place to be in winter. That was especially true for me this year as I was there to present to the Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting as part of the technical program related to positioning, navigation and timing (PNT).  

In my session, I talked about the critical timing requirements in smart grids, with secure cyber threat protection. With their complex inverted distributed energy resources like wind farms, solar plants and battery storage, they require network time synchronization with new levels of accuracy, stability and security. 

What’s more, with cyber threats at an all-time high, sync strategies are urgently needed to prevent, defend, and mitigate the risk of utility networks being hacked and disabled. That's why protecting PNT services has become critical for precise synchronization, including accurately locating power line faults, synchronizing distributed control processes and load flows, and balancing power supply and demand by precisely timestamping data records.

But what the PTTI delegates were most keen to discuss was how to meet the new challenges. Together we looked into best practices and architecture strategies to time-sync secure smart grids to the highest level of the Department for Homeland Security’s (DHS) Resilient PNT Conformance Framework Level 4 and how to achieve trusted resilience, assurance, and compliance, even with the new IEEE P1952 PNT UE Standard UE Standard in progress. We also explored cost-effective sync architectures by type of grid site, from core to substation to DER, and how these can empower grid operators to effectively plan synchronization for their complex, all-IP network digital transformation.

PNT assurance and compliance are mission-critical pillars for building defense-in-depth PNT, mandated by the DHS.

If you weren't able to attend but are keen to find out more then please check out my slide deck

And you can get more information on assured PNT sync planning for smart digital grids from our comprehensive guide. It explains why resilient PNT is not enough to protect against increasingly complex GPS/GNSS and network-based cyberattacks. PNT assurance and compliance are equally mission-critical pillars for building defense-in-depth PNT, mandated by the DHS. This, along with a framework built on zero-trust PNT sources, is at the heart of our state-of-the art aPNT+ technology.

Our sync guide is even available as a free audio book so you can listen while on the move.

With more than 70 years’ experience in advanced sync and timing, Oscilloquartz is a world leader in defense-in-depth PNT. So make sure you leverage our trusted scalable aPNT+ solution and the unique expertise of our team to protect your utility network from the inevitable threat of PNT disruptions.

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