Southern California Edison (SCE), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Open Grid Systems have created a Common Information Model (CIM) environmental data model, whose design was driven by requirements from a wide range of utility use cases. 

The model addresses the broad range of environmental data needs of utilities, which extend beyond atmospheric weather and into geospheric and hydrospheric conditions like earthquakes, grass fires and flood levels.  Bringing together concepts from a number of other common, more specialized, weather and environmental information models, the proposed CIM environmental data model is tailored to the needs of the electric utility industry. 

The proposed extensions to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Common Information Model (CIM) standard to include the modeling of environmental data can allow utility applications to access environmental information, which typically comes from multiple providers in multiple forms, in a uniform, standard manner.  The extensions will support the exchange of environmental information using the same high-quality, scalable CIM model-based architectures and technologies already employed in sharing other operationally vital information across the utility enterprise.

The use of environmental data is ubiquitous in utility operations.  From forecasting load to pre-deploying crews ahead of storms, from predicting renewable generation output to validating weather-related loss claims, from pinpointing lightning strike locations near distribution assets to predicting lake levels from snow pack, environmental data is essential to utility operations. 

The CIM environmental data model affords an opportunity for utilities to effectively manage and utilize environmental data across work groups and applications and will support the automation utilities need to successfully meet the challenges of maintaining reliability, minimizing costs and meeting customer expectations as new and more weather-sensitive technologies are deployed in the grid.

The model has been reviewed by a number of industry experts, is already being incorporated by a software vendor into its product line and is currently under review by a CIM Working Group for inclusion into the IEC CIM standard.

For more information, download the EPRI report 1024598 Modeling Environmental Data in the Common Information Modelor visit the CIMug website www.cimug.org, “CIM for Weather” link under the Projects menu.