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Enabling Smart Energy as a Service via 5G Mobile Network advances (NRG-5)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NRG-5 (Enabling Smart Energy as a Service via 5G Mobile Network advances (NRG-5))

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-06-30

The NRG-5 project envisages contributing to the 5G PPP/5G Initiative research and development activities and participation at the relevant 5G WGs by delivering a novel 5G-PPP compliant, decentralized, secure and resilient framework, able to homogeneously model and virtualize static or moving, hardware constrained (smart energy) devices, edge computing resources and elastic virtualized services over electricity and gas infrastructure assets combined with the telecommunications infrastructure covering the full spectrum of the communication and computational needs. However, to effectively support energy utilities along their transition towards more decentralized renewable-oriented systems, several open issues still remain as to 5G networks management automation, security, resilience, scalability and portability.

NRG-5 performs research and develops a novel 5G PPP-compliant software framework specifically tailored to the energy domain, which combines:
• trusted, scalable and lock-in free plug ‘n’ play support for a variety of constrained devices
• 5G devices’ abstractions to demonstrate mMTC (Massive MTC), uMTC (Critical MTC) and xMBB (Massive broadband) communications coupled with partially distributed, trusted, end-to-end security and MCM (Machine Type Communications) to enable secure, scalable and energy efficient communications
• Mobile/Multi-RAT Edge Computing (xMEC) micro-cloud framework to reduce backhaul load, increase the overall network capacity and reduce delays, while facilitating the deployment of generic MTC-related NFVs and utility-centric Virtual Network Functions (VNFs)
• a 5G ETSI-MANO-based analysis framework to support automated, dynamic, elastic VNF reconfiguration.
• Extensive lab-based validation will be complemented with real life demonstrations in two pilot sites where proof-of-concept implementations for 5G-enabled electricity and gas distribution network optimized management will be offered, while offering support to 5G PPP phase III projects via demonstrating high replication potential towards other verticals.

NRG-5 extensively applies the concept of NFV in the Smart Energy-5G vertical use case. NRG-5 considers smart energy services as VNF Forwarding Graphs, where energy management functions will be dynamically (dis)patched to allow effective energy management, based on operational needs, business priorities and policy rules, enabling high availability via optimal power grid management functions.
The project first refined and analysed the NRG-5 use case scenarios and applications that will address the challenges of Smart energy under a 5G perspective. Three extremely demanding 5G Smart Energy vertical use case scenarios dealing with smart metering (UC1), predictive maintenance (UC2) and dispatchable demand response (UC3) were outlined, having strict Machine Type Communications (MTC) requirements including Massive MTC (UC1 and UC2), Enhanced Mobile Broadband (UC2) and Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (UC3). To cope with these requirements, we introduced an NRG-5 extended Mobile Edge Cloud (xMEC) node that fits with the overall 5G-PPP 5G reference architecture. The functionalities architecture of the xMEC were defined and clearly documented.

The prototyping activities were split into two basic categories, the first related to generic VNFs development and the second to Utility-specific VNFs and application development. The first activity tree resulted in the design and prototyping of VNFs towards i) terminal service discovery and supporting mesh networks with arbitrary protocols for physical, MAC, network and transport layers (vTSD), ii) increasing resilience and speeding up computation at the edge via adaptable data caches (vMCM), iii) better handling mobility based on GPS coordinates and NRG-5 presence in an area (vMME), and iv) hardening security for particular communication and data reporting paradigms that are considered critical for the energy domain with a strong focus on blockchains (vAAA and vBCP). Further, VNFs for automated video analysis (vMPA), automated drones control (vDFC, for overviewing power lines status), substation automation (vESR), energy storage systems (vDES), renewable energy sources deployments (vRES) and phasor measurement units (vPMU) were also defined and prototyped. All these developments will be coordinated under software modules implementing Advanced Metering Infrastructures as a Service (AMIaaS), Preventive Maintenance as a Service (PMaaS) and Dispatchable Demand Response as a Service (DDRaaS), corresponding to UC1-UC3. From a platform perspective, NRG-5 concluded on a MAPE-K control loop for optimizing the use of resources at the xMEC level and for deciding over optimal deployment options. Preliminary analysis of energy-related Critical Infrastructures SLAs was also performed. From an SDN standpoint, NRG-5 concluded on the use of OpenStack as virtualization platform managed by the ETSI OSM MANO framework. Complete integration of the two platforms has been achieved.

As NRG-5 features both laboratory and real-life trial evaluation and validation processes, the work of the project spanned both perspectives. In this perspective, the project first defined an open source- and open data-friendly data management plan. Next, the project ativities focus on the preliminary integration with the H2020 SUCCESS project activities related to a 5G-enabled next-generation smart metering device (5G-NORM). Similarly, preliminary integration of the NRG-5 VNFs with drones was achieved. As per trial evaluation, the relevant tasks were not active during the reporting period, however, initial discussions were held and conclusions on the next steps were drown.

Finally, the project was active in impact creation activities, publishing 13 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences (1 is also pending evaluation), participating in 7 physical meetings and in regular conference calls in the frameworks of our collaboraiton with the 5G-PPP WGs. The project dissemination included another 16 events attended were NRG-5 was presented. Finally, the activities of hte project were liaised with three other 5G-PPP projects and two H2020 energy- and security-related ones.
By the end of the project we expect that NRG-5 will have provided pioneering solutions towards enabling and automating complex and currently non-real-time activities of energy Utilities, increasing the quality of the energy provided to the EU cities also rendering the energy infrastructures more resilient and much safer. Further, significant advancements at the IoT domain will have been achieved, with the novel NRG-5 VNF stack, rendering the connectivity of the devices more resilient, more persistent, and more secure whereas data from IoT devices will be securely and controllably available to location-aware applications faster.

We foresee that European society will benefit from the combination of 5G communications and smart energy and from the boost of Renewable Energy Source penetration which has direct positive impact on the environment. Similarly, the EU economy will benefit through the active engagement of SMEs and Industries that will increase their competitiveness in the 5G and energy (possibly local) market economy. Finally, the development of a unified 5G PPP program liaising with 5G PPP and other H2020 projects will allow for stronger standardization impact, also boosting the integration of energy markets across Europe.
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