by Paul Duffy
Smart Energy Profile 2 (SEP2) is an IP-based, PHY/MAC agnostic application specification under development by the ZigBee and HomePlug Alliances. SEP 2 has also been identified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the recommended protocol for energy information and control in the consumer premise. Amongst the features supported by SEP2 are Demand Response, Price Delivery, Sub-Metering, Distributed Energy Resources, and Electric Vehicles.
SEP2's predecessor, Smart Energy 1, is not IP based and thus locked to a specific PHY/MAC. NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) formed Priority Action Plan (PAP) 18 to define the migration options of existing SE 1.x implementations to SEP2. While PAP18 does not require new deployments to use SEP2, the overall intent of SGIP is to promote interoperable standards for all aspects of the Smart Grid. SEP2's ability to operate over any PHY/MAC clearly fits that intention.
The SEP2 effort did recently endure a setback in April when the SEP2 Application Specification 0.7 ballot (signaling start of interoperability testing) failed. However, with leadership from Cisco, the SEP2 community has rallied to resolve issues and reach common ground. Recent agreements include requirements that SEP2 messaging be based on a RESTful HTTP model, and (for the first time) messaging performance requirements are being settled.
The recent August SEP2 Application Specification 0.7 ballot passed unanimously. Additionally (also with Cisco's leadership,) great progress has been made to reorganize the governance of SEP2 standardization to better reflect multi-stakeholders (ZigBee, HomePlug, WiFi) and public policy (NIST-SGIP) interests.
A very positive result from this work is the formation of the SEP2 Certification and Interoperability Consortium
, which will oversee production of SEP2 device certification test plans for various PHY/MAC, host interoperability events, etc.
With the passage of the August 0.7 ballot, the SEP2 specification is complete enough that interoperability testing can commence once the Consortium is up and running (Sept 2011).
At this point in time, there is significant, satisfactory SEP 2 progress in both the governance and technical directions. But the work is not yet complete. A yet to be tackled governance issue is where will long term development of the SEP 2 Application Specification reside. Further effort will also include resolution of the 4000 comments for the application specification as it moves to its 0.9 and 1.0 ballot, getting the testing Consortium functional, etc.
The recent passed ballot and the formation of a multi-alliance test effort are significant positive developments.