Recent changes to the California ISO (CAISO) SSL security certification program used by Remote Intelligent Gateways (RIGs) required updates to aging hardware and software that many electric power resources use for real-time communications with the ISO.
As a result, 29 electric power resources, with 4,897 MW of generation capacity, selected Trimark Associates to upgrade their Remote Intelligent Gateway (RIG) systems to be compatible with the new security certificates by CAISO’s May 7 deadline.
The replacement RIGs support secure communication between the CAISO and generation resources that can meet up to 20% of California’s electrical load. These resources range from a 1-MW solar project to a natural gas peaker that generates more than 1,000 MW of electric power.
Following an earlier change to their SSL security certificates, CAISO determined that some devices were not compatible with their new SSL certificates. According to CAISO, RIGs built on the Areva platform and others, will not accommodate the Signature Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2) and its 2048-bit encryption. As of May 7, 2017, the first generation (SHA-1) SSL certificates will expire and the associated RIGs will no longer interface with CAISO’s EMS. In order to maintain real-time communication with the CAISO, electric power generation resources that could only use the SHA-1 certificate were required to update their RIG hardware and software to accommodate the SHA-2 SSL certificate.
With the May 7 deadline looming, Trimark organized its team of experts including system integrators, programmers, meter technicians and project managers to plan, coordinate and install new RIGs. “Trimark’s team exhibited extraordinary effort, creativity and tenacity in accomplishing this replacement effort,” said Dean Schoeder. “Each new RIG required configuration, point mapping, SSL security update, installation, and testing. In total, the projects included 1,569 data points – each of which had to pass CAISO’s rigorous point-to-point testing before commissioning.”
In order to complete all 29 projects on schedule, Trimark technicians sometimes installed new devices and conducted testing on the same day. Due to the tight deadline and the criticality of maintaining communications with almost 5 GW of electrical power resources, CAISO was able to expedite their schedule to accommodate testing within their deadline.
Trimark’s T1-S Gateway was the first RIG to meet CAISO’s SHA-2 standard. Trimark’s T1-S Gateway RIGs have met that standard since CAISO first introduced it.
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