The DISCERN project proposes a common approach to represent and exchange Smart Grid solutions based on the Use Case methodology, which is a standardised approach to describe system requirements (IEC 62559), and the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM), which is a framework to represent high-level Smart Grid architectures highlighting key interoperability aspects. Moreover, libraries of Actors, Functions, and Requirements have been developed during the project in order to agree on common terms that should be used in the Use Cases and SGAM models. The proposed approach proved to be useful for sharing Smart Grid requirements and architectures both within and beyond DISCERN project.
However, at the early stages of the project the Smart Grid solutions were described in different formats and applications: Use Cases in MS Word, SGAM models in MS Visio, and libraries of Actors, Functions, and Requirements in MS Excel. This made it difficult to:
- Ensure consistency of the descriptions; that is checking that the same name is used to refer to the same element – e.g. an actor – in different parts of the descriptions.
- Enable multi-editing of Use Cases and SGAM models; that is, assigning access rights and a centralised platform to allow different partners editing the same descriptions.
- Reuse the Use Cases, SGAM models, and libraries in other software tools, such as external repositories.
The tool support developed in the project aims at addressing the issues mentioned above and comprises:
- XML schemas defining standard-based formats for exchanging Use Cases, SGAM models, and libraries. The schemas are based on an extended version of the IEC 62559 meta-model, which formally represents Use Case concepts.
- Templates with XML export. A MS Word Use Case template, a MS Visio SGAM template, and MS Excel libraries were developed in DISCERN including an XML export functionality that automatically represents the descriptions in XML files valid against the IEC 62559-based schemas.
- Use Case Management Repository (UCMR), which is a Web application for storing and managing descriptions of Smart Grid solutions. Its main features are: multi-editing of Use Cases and libraries; drag & drop of actors, functions, requirements into the Use Cases; presentation of SGAM models in an 3-D visualisation tool; importing descriptions in XML files; exporting Use Cases in MS Word and SGAM models as well as libraries in XML.
Figure 1 DISCERN tool support for managing Use Cases and SGAM models
Given that the tools developed in DISCERN rely on international standards and frameworks, they can be leveraged in other projects, as well as internally within the companies, with the aim of facilitating sharing of Smart Grid requirements and architectures. This is particularly useful in the context of large Smart Grid projects, in which partners from different areas of expertise and different countries need to exchange information on Smart Grid solutions with each other.
The tool and libraries are free accessible to the project website: www.discern.eu