Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Fundamentals of IEC 61850 training programme

Smart Grid Forums offers a 3 day training on IEC 61850 Fundamentals:

17-19 March 2020 
London, UK

Click HERE for details.

You may download selected presentations from 2019:

1. IEC 61850 Standardisation Update - Christoph Brunner
2. New Industrialised Substation Automation System - David MacDonald
3. IEC 61850 System and Tool Testing - DNV GL


Friday, December 6, 2019

How Serious Are You About Cyber Security For Power Systems?

I know: A lot has been talked and written about Cyber Security for power delivery and many other systems.

BUT: What about insurance that specify coverage for cyber damage? 

You may figure out that your company has insurance covering cyber damage. So far - so good!
Be careful and read the latest development regarding the question, if all damages will be covered by your policy.
Please check the following report and ensure this article is made available to all senior managers and executives immediately ... a famous case (Merck) explains that there may be cases where the insurance companies may not pay at all ... in case of big bang attack ...

Click HERE for the wake-up call for everybody - from Bloomberg!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

IEC 61850 Deadband Reporting and Logging - What Does It Provide?

IEC 61850 Reporting and Logging are very useful services to keep the needed bandwidth for messaging low. It is a bit tricky to understand how it works ... due to the fact that there are two documents that need to be studied to understand the function (IEC 61850-7-2 and IEC 61850-7-3). And: You need to know that some changes in the operation of Reporting and Logging happened from Edition 2 to Edition 2.1 (soon to be published as International Standard).

Deadbanding in IEC 61850 provides a filter mechanism that defines, when an analogue value will be reported by the IED (Server side) to another system (Client side).

Edition 2 of IEC 61850-7-3 defines:

"Deadband. Shall represent a configuration parameter used to calculate all deadbanded attributes (for example mag attribute in the CDC MV). The value shall represent the percentage of difference between max. and min. in units of 0,001 %.
If an integral calculation is used to determine the deadbanded value, the value shall be represented as 0,001 % s.
A db value of 0 shall suppress reporting events on the analog value, so that only changes of the range value will lead to events."

Edition 2.1 of IEC 61850-7-3 will define:

"Deadband is a configuration parameter used to calculate deadbanded value 'mag'. The value of 'db' shall represent the percentage of 'dbRef' in units of 0.001 %. Therefore, 'db' = [0...100000], corresponding to [0 %...100 %], respectively. If an integral calculation is used to determine the deadbanded value, the value of 'db' shall be represented as 0.001 %s.
With a 'db' = 0 the attribute 'mag' follows the instantaneous value.
If 'db' is not present in the model, then the deadband calculation is a local issue."

See Tissue Data Base on deadbanding.

"db" = 0 is a dangerous configuration value!! It is like divide by "0". Any (small) change of "instMag" will issue a report or log entry. I am a little bit confused ... but finally it may help with the following use case: Output of the Schedule "ValMV" that is of CDC "MV". See the following figures for some details:

"db" >= 0 could reduce the number of events (reports/log entries) for analogue values. Usually an analogue value is a measurement or a calculated value.

In case of modeling schedules (FSCH in IEC 61850-90-10 / IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2.1) it is required to report/log a scheduled value - which is similar to a measurement ... but it is a non-continuous value (has "jumps" only) ... OK. CDC MV is used for the Output of a Schedule. What is the impact of the "db" value?!? Be careful!
The following figure discusses the impact of trigger option "data change" and "db"=0 as well as "data update":

Finally: If you need to see (as a client) changes only, then "db"=0 is the right configuration. If you want to receive/log a "confirmation" of any new value at the beginning of a new Schedule Interval (SchdIntv) then "data update" is the right configuration.

You need to understand your needs before you decide how to configure deadbanding.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The History Of The IEC 61850 Modelling

The standardization of IEC 61850 started in 1995 when the IEC TC 57 Working Groups 10, 11, and 12 had been setup. Later all projects have been moved to the Working Group 10 - that is still (very!) active today.
Prior to the new project proposal for IEC 61850 the EPRI UCA project developed core models for many signals and communication services. UCA used a simple table notation for defining "models".
The experts involved have discussed several options how to model the signals. In December 1998 the editors of the core documents (including myself) met in Ann Arbor (MI, USA).

We discussed modelling with ASN.1 or our own notation:

we were not quite happy ... then we discussed trying UML … walked across the street to the University bookshop to purchase some 10 Books about UML Modelling. I purchased several books, too:

… a senior development manager of protection relays was strictly against UML … he said, it will never be used for protection and automation. Some weeks later I met his engineers in their office … and saw that they used UML for developments …

Later I tried OWL with some success:

Experts involved in CIM (Common Information Models) used UML - with the SPARX tool Enterprise Architect (EA). It took several years before UML (and EA) was used to define all models of IEC 61850. Today (end of 2019) almost all models and other definitions are managed with the EA - it is a big success! The latest version comprises the following parts:

There are tools available to export parts of the model from EA as Word documents, html pages, pdf ...

Example of a model:

With the application of the SPARX EA we have a single source of all crucial definitions.

Note: The EA package "IEC61850Domain" is only available for the experts writing, publishing and maintaining the various standard parts.

Some exported documents (the so-called code components) are available for free access:
Click HERE for accessing these documents.

Thanks to the experts that have continuously pushed for using UML and EA. It took several years ... and it was not easy for engineers to use a formal language and tool to get where we are today.

These days the EA is used also for many other tasks: use cases, design state machines like for IEC 61850-90-16 (System management), ... IEC TC 57 has done a good job in using UML for CIM and IEC 61850. But another generation of engineers is needed to understand the full benefit of using UML.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

E-Book verfügbar: etz Report 34 "Offene Kommunikation nach IEC 61850 für die Schutz- und Stationsleittechnik"

Der lange Zeit vergriffene etz Report 34 (2004, 159 Seiten):

"Offene Kommunikation nach IEC 61850 für die Schutz- und Stationsleittechnik"

ist als E-Book verfügbar!

Hier klicken, um die E-Book-Version zu erwerben.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Draft IEC TR 61850-90-18 on Alarm Handling Published

IEC TC 57 just published a new 50 page draft part of IEC 61850 (57/2157/DC):

IEC Draft TR 61850-90-18
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 90-18: Alarm handling in IEC 61850 based systems

Comments are expected by Nov 29, 2019.

Work is done by TC 57/WG 10 together with TC 88/JWG 25 (Wind Turbines).

This part defines a methodology to handle alarms. The crucial concept is defining an “Alarm Server”.

Use-cases considered are related to:
WG 10: IED communications & associated data models in power systems
WG 17: Distributed Energy Resources
WG 18: Hydroelectric power plants
JWG 25: Wind Power

Sample Use case: Wind power system
"Several clients connected either to an alarm concentrator handling alarms from a system of
identical distributed IED’s or directly to one specific IED. Some of the alarms are defined as
latched and all alarms are defined either with or without acknowledgement.
If a wind turbine is maintained and thus in service state, all alarms must still be captured and
exposed, but marked with an “in-service” flag for filtering (and not to be annunciated).
The IED’s may either be proprietary devices or comply with IEC 61850.
Domain: Common in wind-power domains."

IEC TC 57 WG19 proposes CIM Profiles to JSON schema Mapping

IEC TC 57 WG is discussing the use of JSON for transferring message payload

DRAFT 62361-104:

Part 104: CIM Profiles to JSON schema Mapping

The introduction says:

"This standard is one of the IEC 62361 series which define standards that may be used by all
Working Groups within TC57. These standards address areas of interest that impact multiple
standards and provide consistency for implementations.
This part 104 describes a mapping from CIM profiles to IETF JSON schemas and defines the
rules that CIM JSON message payloads must adhere to.
The principle objective of this part 104 is to facilitate the exchange of information in the form of
JSON documents whose semantics are defined by the IEC CIM and whose syntax is defined by
an IETF JSON schema. ..."

JSON is applicable for encoding of CIM (IEC 61968/70) message payload and - as I believe - also for IEC 61850 message payload!

By the way: The post on "IEC 61850-8-2 Versus IEC 61850-8-1" discussing the use of JSON in addition to MMS/ASN.1/BER and MMS/ASN.1/XER has been visited 2,000 times since July 5, 2019 --> or 16 times per day.

Click HERE for additional discussion on the use of JSON ...

3-Day Training for Electrical Engineers New to IEC 61850

3-Day Training for Electrical Engineers New to IEC 61850

17-19 March 2020 | London, UK

Day One: Tuesday 17 March
Core Concepts
Overview of IEC 61850 and introduction to the core concepts, including the hierarchical data model, communication services and the range of applications possible.

Day Two: Wednesday 18 March
Engineering and Configuration
Deep-dive into the IEC 61850 engineering process, learning how to use Substation Configuration Language and engineering tools for IEC 61850 specification, system design and IED configuration.

Day Three: Thursday 19 March
Learn how to thoroughly test IEC 61850 systems, including functional and system testing as well as gaining an overview of cybersecurity considerations for IEC 61850 systems.

Click HERE to learn more.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Megger Organizes the First Latin American Protection Conference 6-7 November

Primera edición del Congreso Latinoamericano de Protecciones

La primera edición del Congreso Latinoamericano de Protecciones ( a desarrollarse los días 6 y 7 de noviembre del corriente año en el Hotel Meliá, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

El evento reúne a especialistas y líderes en la implementación de sistemas de protecciones orientado a la experiencia del usuario final. Se dirige a lograr un panorama sobre el estado actual y futuro de los sistemas de protecciones dentro de la subestación y en la red más amplia en América Latina.
El programa de dos días abarca ponencias de usuarios, fabricantes, especialistas y expertos, seguido del tutorial de dos horas de duración sobre los Factores de éxito para la utilización de IEC 61850 dirigido por el Ing. Carlos Samitier centrada en los estudios de caso de implementación de IEC 61850 a nivel global, los errores más frecuentes y cómo evitarlos. Además, de los paneles sobre futuras aplicaciones en mantenimiento en IEC 61850 con la participación de los especialistas en tecnologías de ensayo de protecciones.

Los ejes temáticos están relacionados con los Avances y tendencias en IEC 61850, Esquemas avanzados en protecciones, Ensayos automatizados de protecciones eléctricas, Lecciones aprendidas en activaciones de protecciones, Comunicaciones para protecciones, entre otros.

In case you are interest to share your experiences at the conference, contact Mr. Roberto Sartori (

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Next week: IXXAT Smart Grid Gateways at IEC 61850 Global 2019 in London, UK

IXXAT (HMS) will be available at the conference to demonstrate you the latest gateway family supporting IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, Profibus, ProfiNet, Ethernet/IP, M-Bus, ...

IEC 61850 Global 2019
London, UK
Oct 14, 2019, 02:00 AM - Oct 19, 2019, 02:00 AM

Drawing together 150+ IEC 61850 specialists and implementation leaders, this end-user-driven programme focuses on achieving multi-vendor, multi-edition interoperability within the substation and across the wider smart grid.

Click HERE for more details on the event.

New IIoT gateways from HMS allow industrial equipment to communicate with smart grids ...

Click HERE for more details to solve smart grid information models and communications.

Note that the gateway will come with MQTT as well ...

Click HERE for the Gateway with MQTT support.

Cyber Security and SAFETY in Power Systems

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at NIST just released a draft of the NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide, SP 1800-23, Energy Sector Asset Management, on September 23, 2019, and is requesting your feedback. Public comments on the draft will close on November 25, 2019. "...that will help energy organizations address the security challenges of OT asset management. ..."

The main objective is to have a look at "programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), which provide command and control information on operational technology (OT) networks ..."

Click HERE for the Guide.

The Guide seems to be written by mainly non-protection engineers or even non-electrical engineers. I have read the other day in a discussion about the Guide that the term SAFETY was not mentioned in the  guide ... huch ...

Here is my explanation why SAFETY is not in the scope:

The safety in electric power systems is mainly managed by PROTECTION devices. These devices protect humans, equipment and power flow. Protection has the highest priority in electric power systems. Protection is also crucial for availability and reliability. Protection engineers are - in my view - the most critical engineers.

My experience is that IT and OT people fear the high voltage ... starting at 100 Volt or so ... so, that may be the reason the document NIST SP 1800-23 does not discuss any protection (SAFETY) related function.

They don't have Sr. protection engineers in their mind ... maybe they don't know what these engineers are doing ... and how important they are to keep the power flowing.

A friend of mine (a senior protection engineer) and I have conducted many IEC 61850 seminars together ... I have always admired him!!

My friend answered:

In general unfortunately it is as you describe.
The circuit breaker doesn’t work? The protection engineers have invented the “breaker failure”. This is a bit biased, any component can fail of course…
The Sampled Values are not delivered? The relay has to manage that. They are “delivered wrong”? The relay has to try to understand it and be robust.
Yes, it is probably more difficult to design and set a good protection system (including the design of the relay) than doing an airplane...

IEC 61850 For Monitoring Data - Private or Standard?

One of the most crucial issues in the management of energy systems is: HOW TO share or exchange useful information generated by a myriad of sensors and applications needed by hundreds of applications?

Lets assume that lakes of information are generated every second. Usually this information is stored in silos of vendors specific solutions and communicated using one or more vendor specific communication solutions ... as shown in the following sketch drawn by our grandson Jan Oliver:

The expectations to apply IEC 61850 are high! BUT quite often vendors argue, that it is easier to use their private solutions - faster and saves time and costs! This may be true for the first phase of a project - but in the long run and in the view of the life time cost it may be completely opposite.

Three experts from Vattenfall DSO (Sweden; Vincent GLINIEWICZ, David EROL Anders JOHNSSON) have reported at the CIRED conference 2019-06 in Madrid (Spain) from an implementation of a pilot project using IEC 61850 and CIM  with the title:


Excerpt from the paper:

"... However the data unfortunately currently often remain unused and unshared outside of the substation or specific silos for various reasons, some technical (e.g. cyber security, system incompatibility), some and organizational (e.g. vendor lock-in, siloed applications and organizations).
Additionally, with an increasing number of use cases requiring access to information, there is a growing number of information flows needed not only between data sources and central level applications but also between these central level applications. Without an IT architecture that allows reuse of information flows, there are legitimate concerns that the opportunities that digitalization promises might be delayed and costly or even worse, not be achievable.
As a result, Vattenfall Eldistribution sees a standard based integration approach as a cost-effective approach that seems to offer in the long run low integration costs and more importantly a greater flexibility, going from supplier specific integrations to a more generic approach. ...

We would also like to highlight some of the deviations from the standards that were observed during this pilot:

The pilot made use of a REST API towards the real time data historian (RTDH in fig. 2), although there was no mention of REST in the 61968-100 standard. One could however expect, given the increasing popularity and use of RESTful services in most industries, that the standard will soon follow and that the mention will be added in a further edition on the standard.
The gateway used in the pilot was a prototype base on a technical report (IEC TR 61850-90-2) [Using IEC 61850 for communication between substations and control centres] which is not yet a standard. This might explain why there doesn’t seem yet to be a complete and robust 61850-90-2 compliant product on offer in the market. Another alternative considered for the pilot gateway was the use of IEC 61850/MMS towards the substation and the use of web services (either RESTful+ JSON or SOAP) to communicate northbound instead of the IEC 61850/MMS used in the pilot. SOA has indeed a robust and well developed architecture for distributed computing, and this should be leveraged. There however did not seem to be any products available on the market. This alternative will be explored in a coming pilot. ..."

The paper concludes:

"Although the pilot was made for a primary substation, the widespread use of the IEC 61850 standards series make the results of this pilot not only applicable for primary substations, but potentially also secondary substations and microgrid.
Following the successful pilot, the next step is to look at how to fully implement and verify the concepts in a real substation and to secure production grade components where prototypes have been used as well as test the architecture through other smart grid use cases."

Click HERE for the full paper.

I have run an UCA/IEC 61850 pilot project with Anders Johnsson some 20 years (!) ago:

Two reports out of this pilot project and other discussions have been published in 2002:

Wind Power Communication
Verification report and recommendation

Click HERE for the Report.

Wind Power Communication - Design & Implementation 
of Test Environment for IEC61850/UCA2

Click HERE for the Report.

Enjoy the reports.

By the way: It took some 20 years to understand that the mapping of IEC 61850 models and communication protocols to MMS (ISO 9506) should be extended by a much easier and simpler mapping to JSON and, e.g., MQTT or http ...

It is not too late for such an additional standardized mapping ... e.g., as IEC 61850-8-3.

It may take another 10 years before this becomes true! Hope it will happen a bit earlier!

Further reading on the subject see discussion of IEC 61850-8-1 versus 8-2 (some 1,800 visits of the post since July 2019).

Other people have similar ideas and published the following paper:

International Electronical Committee (IEC) 61850
Mapping with Constrained Application Protocol
(CoAP) in Smart Grids Based European
Telecommunications Standard Institute
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Environment

Friday, October 4, 2019

IEC 61850 All Over At CIRED Conference 2019-06 in Madrid Spain

I was really surprised to browse through some of the 51 papers presented at the CIRED Conference 2019-06 in Madrid Spain that refer to IEC 61850 !!

Click HERE for the CIRED search engine. Enter "61850" and you will find the links to the 51 papers presented this year that mention IEC 61850 by some means or other.

Unfortunately I don't have time to study them all in detail ... hope to find some time soon.

While searching the web, I found another very interesting paper:

International Electronical Committee (IEC) 61850
Mapping with Constrained Application Protocol
(CoAP) in Smart Grids Based European
Telecommunications Standard Institute
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Environment

Click HERE for accessing that paper. More to come ...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

IEC Offers Code Components for IEC 61850 and other standards

One of the most crucial benefits of IEC 61850 information models is the availability of code components - the possibility to get a computer processable document that contains the formal definition of a model, e.g., the measurements of a three phase system.

Excerpt of MMXU:

The following document has just been published:

Handling of Code Components in IEC Standards
Including Copyright Licensing

Handling of Code Components v8.0 2019-08-29

This document sets out the process and rules to be used by IEC groups (TCs, SCs, PCs, WGs, SyCs, …) and experts in charge of editing IEC documents to ensure a proper handling of copyright licensing of code components included in IEC deliverables. It also defines the technical and process requirements to consider to optionally offer a free access to certain code component(s) through the IEC web site. At the current time this document only applies to IEC TC57

Click HERE for the full document.

Click HERE for the list of name space available for immediate access.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Why Is It So Easy To Map IEC 61850 Signals to JSON Objects?

IEC 61850 defines Device Models for the exchange of information between any two or more entities. The Models are structured as unique branches of a tree.That means:

Each path from the Device (Root) to 
any node or leave of the trees is unique

The signals are composed of an access reference (LDName/LNName.DOI. ...) and the value that corresponds with the path.

Example of two leaves:
LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.mag.f = 23.5 (Temperature value)
LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.units.SIUnit = °C (Temperature engineering units)

These are key-value pairs that could easily map to JSON Objects:

"LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.mag.f " : "23.5"
"LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.units.SIUnit" : °C

These JSON objects are

  • Light-weight
  • Language independent
  • Easy to process with Python, ...
  • Text based and human readable 
  • JSON Schemas could support automatic (syntax and semantic) checks
  • JSON is supported by many controllers
The controller of our PV inverter from Fronius has an http/JSON interface. The following request (lines 1-3) returns many common inverter data (line 21ff):

Lesson learned: Controller in inverter could easily provide an http/JSON interface.

The Device Model is a virtual model that could be configured using the SCL (System Configuration Language, IEC 61850-6). The Device Model is implemented in an IED and could be accessed to get the self-description, read, write, send/receive reports, publish/subscribe, ...

An IEC 61850 Server hosted by an IED could easily map the model to JSON objects that may be communicated with MQTT, HTTP, ...

The mapping to JSON is quite easy. It could be implemented by a simple automatic process that parses the model (SCL/XML), searches for the paths and concatenates the names from the root to the leaves to get the reference! AND: the mapping preserves the semantic - the meaning represented by the path name.

The mappings of IEC 61850 Models to IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3 or Modbus would result in messages that have lost the semantic of the signals. These solutions have mainly numbers as reference - these numbers have no meaning in the communication.

FDIS Ballot for Amendment 1 for IEC 61850-7-2, 7-3 and 7-4 Edition 2 Approved

The ballot of the three amendments (Amendment 1 for IEC 61850-7-2, 7-3 and 7-4 Edition 2) passed the FDIS process. All three amendments have been approved by 100 %.

The next step will be the IS publication of the three amendments.

It is likely that there will be a consolidated version of each of the three parts - means: the amendment is merged into the edition 2 versions and become edition 2.1.

IEC 61850 Sampled Values and GOOSE Messages Reduce Complexity and Cost

Synaptec Ltd (a spin-out technology company from the University of Strathclyde, UK) developed a distributed electrical sensing technology platform using IEC 61850. The approach allows measured values from up to 50 current transformers to be acquired passively using a single optical fibre core over a distance of up to 50 km. These measured values can then be utilised as part of centralised PAC schemes, or communicated to traditional PAC devices for analysis via IEC 61850-9-2 / 61869-9. By centralising current measurements, this method eliminates the need of having multiple protection relays at each line ends, complex time synchronisation systems at measurement points, and complex telecommunications equipment among the distributed PAC devices.

Click HERE for downloading the 12 page paper (Differential protection of multi-ended transmission circuits using passive distributed current sensors) describing the application and approach to solve a very crucial challenge.

Another paper (Implementation of centralised, numerical busbar protection using distributed photonic current sensors) describes the design and testing of the first centralised busbar protection scheme that makes use of distributed photonic current sensors and IEC 61850. By utilising distributed, passive sensors which are interrogated purely using standard optical fibre, the requirement for active units in the substation yard is completely eliminated. Additionally, the use of copper wiring from CTs to measurement units may be eliminated. The scheme, designed and built for Statnett by Synaptec, will be installed and trialled at Statnett’s Furuset R&D substation near Oslo, Norway. A prototype centralised busbar protection algorithm, validated with the University of Strathclyde, will run on the central merger unit to prove the principle of centralised busbar protection using a single active IED.

Click HERE for downloading the paper.

Click HERE for the Synaptec news (Norwegian TSO Statnett innovates with Synaptec technologies):

With one system able to instrument 50 locations synchronously, 6 busbar feeders will be independently and simultaneously protected by one system, with capacity to spare for novel temperature and vibration monitoring of nearby HV assets, such as transformers.

The development and the applications show that the standard series IEC 61850 has all the "tools" helping to keep the power flowing and the grass green - at all voltage levels.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tissue Process for IEC 61850-8-2 open for posting Tissues

Please note that the Tissue Database is now open for part IEC 61850-8-2:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP)