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DER and IoT Connectivity, Integration and Scale Under CA Rule 21, the IEEE 2030.5-2018 Protocol Mandate

Deploying DER and IoT devices in today’s energy ecosystem has never been more complex, but it has also never been more important. In a T&D World Magazine article from 2018, Gene Wolf clearly highlighted the need for integration: “. . . in the past, DER systems have been connected to the power system, but no one worried about integrating them into the grid’s operation . . . when the penetration of DER technology increases, it needs to be integrated into the power system to ensure the grid operates as a single entity in real-time.” Given the varying protocols, data-models, points of integration, hardware diversity, and cybersecurity requirements, owners of distributed energy resources (DERs) and energy-based IoT devices and electric utilities have a lot to consider.


Recently a major milestone in the integration of these devices occurred – on May 21, 2020, the IEEE 1547.1-2020 standard was officially published, making smart inverters with standard communication interfaces the official U.S. national standard for DERs. 


Additionally, defined under CA Rule 21, the IEEE 2030.5-2018 protocol – the default DER-to-utility communication protocol chosen by California – is now a U.S. national standard; poised for a 50-state rollout.  Even with these communications standards in place for smart inverters, many IOUs in California are looking towards gateway technologies to implement the desired integration, due to the ever-evolving mix of types, capabilities and requirements of grid-connected DERs.


This may just be the catalyst the industry was waiting for to drive DER adoption!


When evaluating gateways for DER control there are several key functional areas to consider:


Visibility and Control


Gateways must be cost-effective, scalable technologies that enable utilities to acquire data from hundreds or even thousands of intelligent devices on the grid, thus simplifying and streamlining the transport and presentation of vital information to operational applications and control systems. In other words, the Gateways must enable moving beyond simple DER management.


Gateways need to be deployed and managed in a distributed fashion to meet the needs of highly complex grids or large systems with millions of devices and data points and requirements for regular security and functionality updates. They should be able to acquire and serve data from millions of transmission and distribution points, while also being used to manage legacy protocol translation and data serving at individual DER sites.




As the entrance point to a utility’s operational communications network, gateways must feature robust security measures to keep intruders at bay. Adherence to interoperability standards and certifications allow for trust-based security measures like Public Key Infrastructures, while various internal mechanisms need to detect unauthorized access and prevent insider threats.




Visit to learn more about how our 2030.5 Edge and Substation Gateways can help you meet your DER and IoT deployment needs.