Thursday, December 31, 2009

ABB uses IEC 61850 for integrated power and process control in Greece

ABB has won in December 2009 an order worth $26 million from Hellenic Petroleum SA to provide an integrated power and automation system for the upgrade of Hellenic Petroleum’s Elefsina refinery, west of Athens. The environmentally friendly refinery will manufacture products in accordance with best in class technology and global standards to minimize environmental impact.

ABB will install a fully automated power management and load shedding system based on the 800xA automation platform and IEC 61850 compatible communication networks. Integrating the electrical and automation system on the common 800xA platform provides additional benefits including reduced maintenance, engineering and overall lifecycle costs.

Click HERE for the full press release.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 comes to a close - 2010 is about to come

As the year 2009 comes to a close, I want to say "Thank You!" for supporting the standardization of solutions for a smarter grid in 2009 and for using my knowledge and experience in the field of information technology for power systems.

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year 2010 - and successful applications of standards like IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 61968/70 (CIM), TASE.2, DNP3, ...

The year 2009 was quite busy with many public and in-house courses and consultancy services on IEC 61850 and related standards. The interest in IEC 61850 has picked up in 2009 all over. What we see now is that we could expect even more interest in 2010. Many utilities are in the process of planning to equip first substation with IEC 61850 conformant substation IEDs (protection, control, monitoring, ...).

During 2009 we have seen the US NIST activities on Smart Grids popping up. In this context we see a lot of challenges to get "sustainable interoperable" solutions for power systems.

What concerns me is that the pace of events with regard to the use of IT is accelerating very very steep! The use of standards progresses faster than usual expected. All experts I know are quite busy. What we need is: more well educated people in the power business.

I look forward to helping you to get all information and experience you need in the application of advanced standards as listed above.

Click HERE for a discussion on education of engineers in the power industry and HERE for a list of of our 70+ up-to-date seminar modules.

IEEE Smart Grid Web Portal

IEEE has launched a new web portal on Smart Grid activities to support the many activities in the domain of making the grids smarter. The portal is intended to provide the "latest information on IEEE’s involvement in the area of Smart Grid including conferences, publications, standards, educational programs and public policy."

Click HERE to visit the portal.

The focus seems to be on North American solutions. The list of "IEEE Approved Standards Related to Smart Grid" ignores many other International Standards (e.g., published by IEC). The page "IEEE Smart Grid Standards in Development" lists more than 30 (!) standard projects related to smarter grids.

Which international organization is about to coordinate the development of standards for the many different aspects of smarter grids? There seems to be some competition. It would be advantage for the global community to have - more ore less - a single set of standards for smarter grids. IEC should play a crucial role in getting a consistent set of standards (including IEC/IEEE double logo standards) ... in order to prevent the situation we have in the international fieldbus standardization with tooooo many standard solutions in one (!) standard: IEC 61158.
Click HERE to see the list of filedbus standards.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Interoperability for Intelligent Devices for Transportation

A very comprehensive set of standards for information models and information exchange has been published for ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems; defined and used in the U.S.). One crucial objective is to reach Interoperability: "A standards-based approach to integration helps to facilitate the exchange of transportation data as well as more easily accommodate future equipment replacements, systems upgrades, and system expansions."

The standard NTCIP 1213, for example, defines a couple of information models that are also defined in IEC 61850.

NTCIP 1213 v02.19 (National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol -- Object Definitions for Electrical and Lighting Management
Systems (ELMS))

Examples of three phase voltages for Delta and Y, current and power:

BranchcircuitEntry::= SEQUENCE {
branchcircuitVoltageAB INTEGER,
branchcircuitVoltageBC INTEGER,
branchcircuitVoltageCA INTEGER,
branchcircuitVoltageAN INTEGER,
branchcircuitVoltageBN INTEGER,
branchcircuitVoltageCN INTEGER,
branchcircuitCurrent   INTEGER,
branchcircuitPower     INTEGER

These models are mapped to MIB (SNMP) and communicated, e.g., in ASN.1 BER - as is the case for IEC 61850-8-1. It would be nice to use the IEC 61850-7-4 MMXU (three phase electrical measurements for all applications - independent of transportation, distribution, generation, ...).

Smart Power Distribution Grids will have a lot of relations to Transportation Systems and vice versa.
No Power System - NO Transportation!

The NIST Smart Grid activities list the NTCIP part 1213 in the SGIP Identified Standards (number 31).

Click HERE for the ITS website ... provides free access to model and protocol standards, e.g. part 1213 can be accessed for free (registration required).
Click HERE for more information on the ITS Standards Background.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IEC 61131-3 and IEC 61499 in action

The standard IEC 61499 (Functionblocks) is implemented on several platforms. NXTControl demonstrates a couple of PLCs (from Beckhoff, Siemens, ...) with IEC 61499 at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES Fair in Nuremberg (Germany) this week. 

After discussions with several experts I expect a big move towards more standards in the Automation arena. The financial crisis lets more people think about using well accepted international standards - to get rid of too many vendor specific or even standardized solutions.

IEC 61499 focuses on:

Portability: the ability of software tools to accept and correctly interpret library elements produced by other software tools.

Configurability: the ability of devices and their software components to be configured (selected, assigned locations, interconnected and parameterized) by multiple software tools.

Interoperability: the ability of devices from different vendors operating together to perform the functions specified by one or more distributed applications.

The interoperability is mainly provided by a standardized international information and information exchange standard like IEC 61850. Several people I met at the fair yesterday are looking for the combination of the two standards: IEC 61499 and IEC 61850. More to come soon.

Click HERE for the comparison of IEC 61131-3 and IEC 61499.
Click HERE for other posts on this blog that discuss IEC 61499 and IEC 61850 to get to really sustainable interoperability.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AEP Ohio gridSMART Demonstration Project funded with US$ 150.000.000

US DoE Secretary Chu announced on Nov. 24, 2009, a total of $620 Million for 32 Smart Grid Demonstration and Energy Storage Projects.

"The projects include streamlined communication technologies that will allow different parts of the grid to “talk” to each other in real time; sensing and control devices that help grid operators monitor and control the flow of electricity to avoid disruptions and outages; smart meters and in-home systems that empower consumers to reduce their energy use and save money; energy storage options; and on-site and renewable energy sources that can be integrated onto the electrical grid."

"The project will include 13 different technologies from the substation to the customer, including distribution automation and control, smart meters and appliances, home area networks, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, energy and battery storage, and renewable generation sources."

This is the time for Standards like IEC 61850, DNP3, IEC 61400-25, IEC 61968/70 CIM, ... to make the Grid smarter. After many years in operation these standards are mature for large scale implementations.

Recovery Act funding granted: $435,200,987
Total Project Value Including Cost Share: $877,241,878

Click HERE for the full press release.
Click HERE for the list of funded projects.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Information Models and Protocols for Smart Grids

"The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), a new stakeholder forum to provide technical support to the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as it coordinates standards for a modernized electric power system, concluded today (19. Nov. 2009) with election of 20 members to its governing board."

Key for the SGIP is to "coordinate the development of a framework that includes protocols and model standards for information management to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems.”

Click HERE for the press release.

IEC 61850 at the Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies

"The first Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies, sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) and hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be held January 19‐21, 2010 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. The Conference will be a forum for the participants to discuss the state‐of‐the‐art innovations in smart grid technologies. The Conference will feature special sessions and tutorials by international experts on smart grid applications."

Paper presentation at the conference:

"Towards the Energy Web via Standards-enabled Smart Grid"

Valeriy Vyatkin, Senior Member, IEEE,
Gulnara Zhabelova, non-member,
Neil Higgins, Member, IEEE,
Mihaela Ulieru, Senior Member, IEEE
Karlheinz Schwarz, Member, IEEE and
Nirmal-Kumar C Nair, Member, IEEE

Abstract -- In this paper we propose an information and control architecture for Smart Grid based on the combination of upcoming industrial standards and intelligent control methods. We make the case that an incremental approach is required for the transition to the Smart Grid and propose a way of doing that through bringing intelligence down to the level of substation automation devices. The architecture employs two strong international standards, IEC 61850 and IEC 61499, to enrich the applications that can be created using interoperable Smart Grid devices. Interoperability and open configurability - key enablers for efficient application of the revolutionary EnergyWeb ideas – are evident in this architecture.
The utility network is modelled as IEC 61850-compliant logical nodes, embedded in an IEC 61499 distributed automation framework. The system is simulated in an IEC 61499 execution environment combined with Matlab, and is proven to achieve simple fault location and power restoration goals through collaborative behaviour.

Click HERE for the conference website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Active and Reactive Power Control with IEC 61400-25-2

The focus of the IEC 61400-25 series is on the communications between wind power plant components such as wind turbines and actors such as SCADA systems. IEC 61400-25-2 specifies the information model of devices and functions related to wind power plant applications. These models extend IEC 61850-7-x models. Almost all definitions, hardware and software solutions available for IEC 61850 can be used for IEC 61400-25-2. In particular, IEC 61400-25-2 specifies the compatible logical node names, and data names for communication between wind power plant components.

The standard IEC 61400-25-2 defines a comprehensive list of information models (Logical Nodes) for wind turbines, e.g.:

  • WTUR - Wind turbine general information
  • WROT - Wind turbine rotor information
  • WTRM - Wind turbine transmission information
  • WGEN - Wind turbine generator information
  • WCNV - Wind turbine converter information
  • WTRF - Wind turbine transformer information
  • WNAC - Wind turbine nacelle information
  • WYAW - Wind turbine yawing information
  • WTOW - Wind turbine tower information

The most crucial Logical Nodes are likely the

  • WAPC - Wind power plant active power control information
  • WRPC - Wind power plant reactive power control information

These models describe the "interface" between a complete park and the grid operator for control purposes. These Logical Nodes can be used for other power resources like CHP, PV, ... The German EEG (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) accelerates the application of IEC 61400-25 tremendously, because the Grid Operator needs more information about the park and he needs to control the whole power system in cases of faults and critical conditions - wind power plants and other resources are an integrated part of the whole system. These resources cannot be treated just as negative loads.

The WAPC (active power control) comprises the following Data Objects:

Status information

  • Actual number of wind turbines in operation
  • Active Power Limitation Mode Enabled
  • Active Power Control Mode Enabled controlling apparent power
  • Gradient Function Enabled
  • Delta Function Enabled


  • Wind Power Plant active power output capability
  • Wind Power Plant active power output
  • Wind Power Plant apparent power
  • Wind Power Plant Gradient
  • Wind Power Plant active power reserve utilizing the Delta function –
    the difference between active power generation capability and active
    power generated

Control information

  • Activate active power control function
  • Activate apparent power control function
  • Activate gradient control function
  • Activate delta control function
  • Set reference value for the wind power plant active power output
  • Set reference value for the wind power plant apparent power output
  • Set reference value for gradient ramping up the wind power plant active power output
  • Set reference value for gradient ramping down the wind power plant
    active power output
  • Set reference value for the wind power plant active power reserve –
    also named as “spinning reserve”

The information provided by these models is crucial for a future stable power delivery system.

Seats for IEC 61850 Tutorial at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES available

The Tutorial "IEC 61850 - Die universale Norm für die Informations-Integration" during the SPS/IPC/DRIVES on Tuesday, 24.11.2009, 14:00 - 17:00 is approaching quite fast ... just 7 days left to register! The presentation is in German - presentation material is in English.

Please note that a real live demo will show crucial benefits of the new standard - for power automation and industrial automation. What is industrial automation without POWER (automation)?

Several manufacturers will show IEC 61850 connectivity ... one is Beckhoff.

Click HERE for the program and other details.
Click HERE for information on Beckhoff's support of IEC 61850/61400-25.

Access to key O&M data by use of IEC 61400-25

Availability of online and historical data is a prerequisite for effective operation and maintenance (O&M) of wind power plants. This is where the standard series IEC 61400-25 "Wind turbines – Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants" comes in. IEC 61400-25 is mainly an extension of the definitions of IEC 61850. A substation does not have a rotor - obviously. So we had to add a model for the rotor with WROT as the standard Logical Node and WROT.RotSpd as the data object for the rotor speed. Where ever a rotor of a wind mill turns it could be modeled as WROT.RotSpd. Since the publication of the standard series there is no need for vendor specific communication solutions and no need for myriads of Excel or Word tables of signal lists that specify the rotor speed with some kind of an index. What does "A2839" mean? May be it is the rotor speed of a turbine running in Buxtehude" - who knows. Of course it takes some time to have the standard implemented ... a couple of IEC 61400-25 conformant products are already available.

According to a presentation at the the European Offshore Wind 2009 Conference & Exhibition, 14 – 16 September, Stockholm (Sweden): "Vattenfall, Statkraft and DONG Energy have all included the IEC 61400-25 series in their requirements specifications. Support for the standard is one of the evaluation criteria for the delivery of new wind power plants."

Click HERE for the poster presented in Stockholm.
Click HERE for a paper on the subject.
Click HERE for a presentation.

Monday, November 16, 2009

OpenGrid uses IEC 61850 and IEC 60870-6-TASE.2

The Current Group developed a so-called "OpenGrid" specification as a "software foundation to enable Smart Grid applications deployed today and in the future.  The OpenGrid platform provides the network and data management system to integrate any grid device, including intelligent sensors, capacitor banks, tap changers, reclosers, switches, substation devices and meters with a variety of low-latency IP based communications systems."

Key components are (many based on IEC standards developed by IEC TC 57) a "Smart Grid communication network using industry standard protocols such as IEC 61850, DNP3, IP and SNMP" and "SCADA integration adapters utilizing ICCP TASE.2, while GIS and OMS integration adapters are built using IEC 61968-11 CIM".

Click HERE to learn more about the OpenGrid.

Friday, November 13, 2009

RWE awarded Development of IEC 61400-25 for Wind Power Control System

RWE (second biggest German Utility) awarded Mr. Pascal Dresselhaus for the development of an IEC 61400-25 compliant software for a Beckhoff PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). He implemented the mapping to MMS according to IEC 61850-8-1. Mr. Dresselhaus' Diploma-Thesis "Entwicklung einer Bibliothek für die Kommunikation von Windkraftanlagen nach IEC 61400-25" won the highest award! Congratulation!

The development is now available as a Product of Beckhoff.

Click HERE for some information related to the Development (English).
Click HERE for the press release of RWE (German only).
Click HERE for the press release of the Fachhochschule Südwestfalen (German only)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Part of IEC 61850 Edition 2 Approved

The first part of Edition 2 of IEC 61850 has been approved for publication:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation -
Part 6: Configuration description language for communication in electrical substations related to IEDs (SCL).

Note that the application domain of the configuration language is much broader than for substations. Part 6 can easily applied to any IED that uses Logical Devices, Logical Nodes, Data Objects and common data classes. Only the Substation Section (describing the single line diagram) is specific to electrical substations. The rest is quite common. Experts of IEC 61400-25 have recently discussed with IEC 61850-6 experts on how to add a corresponding wind power turbine model - as an extension - to IEC 61850-6. The work on such an extension is likely to start in 2010. The same is true for hydro power plants and DER.

Further parts of Edition 2 of IEC 61850 will follow in 2010.

Click HERE for the official webpage for IEC 61850-6.

Friday, November 6, 2009

General Electric to support University education

General Electric will donate an Innovation Lab for power systems and communications to The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

The Lab will help in training on power system protection and automation of electrical substations, including the use of IEC 61850 and Ethernet communication. This is a major step in educating more young people in advanced information and communication technologies for the future power system.

Click HERE for the full press release.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

MMS and ASN.1 Tutorial

The basics of MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification, ISO 9506) and ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation 1) are available at the NettedAutomation Website.

MMS is a messaging system for modeling real devices and functions and for exchanging information about the real device, and exchanging process data - under real-time conditions - and supervisory control information between networked devices and/or computer applications. MMS is an international standard (ISO 9506) that has been developed and maintained by the ISO Technical Committee 184 (TC184) - Industrial Automation - of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The object models and messaging services provided by MMS are generic enough to be appropriate for a wide variety of devices, applications, and industries. Whether the device is a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) or a robot, the MMS object models, services and messages are identical. Similarly, applications as diverse as material handling, fault annunciation, energy management, electrical power distribution control, inventory control, and deep space antenna positioning in industries as varied as automotive, aerospace, petro-chemical, electric utility, office machinery and space exploration have put MMS to useful work.

MMS is the base standard to communicate all client/server information exchange for IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 (in addition to other protocols) and IEC 60870-6 TASE.2 (ICCP). ASN.1 is used in MMS to specify the syntax of messages, ASN.1 BER defines the concrete encoding of the messages. Please note that only a small subset of MMS and ASN.1 is needed by IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 and TASE.2.

Click HERE to begin the Tutorial ... enjoy.

Freely Available ISO and IEC Standards

A list of more than 300 ISO and IEC standards are made available by ISO/IEC for free download.

The list comprises many standards for information and communication technologies like:

ISO/IEC 7498-1:1994
Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model: The Basic Model

ISO/IEC 7498-3:1997
Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model: Naming and addressing

ISO/IEC 16448:2002
Information technology -- 120 mm DVD -- Read-only disk

ISO/IEC 23360-1..8:2006
Linux Standard Base (LSB) core specification 3.1-- Part 1 to 8

Click HERE for the full list of freely available standards.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

US Smart Grid - $8 Billion investment including $4.3 from Government

The US Government and the power industry will invest more than US$ 8,000,000,000 in improving the electric delivery system in the US. 100 private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners received the Smart Grid Investment Grant awards on October 27, 2009.

The Government has awarded many groups with a total of $3.4 Billion! These groups will invest an additional $4.7 Billion.

Millions of Smart Meters, 850 Phase Measurement Units, more than 200,000 Smart Transformers, almost 700 automated substations, ... will be installed by these projects. There seems to be a high potential and need for the application of standardized information and information exchange.

Click HERE for the DoE press release October 27, 2009.
Click HERE for the list of grands awarded by category.
Click HERE for the list of grands awarded by state.
Click HERE for a map of the awards.

More to come in other countries.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The "Semantic Web" in Power System Automation

Traditionally almost all communication solutions for automation and especially for power system automation is build on hundred and thousands of "Points" (Signals) organized in huge lists. Each "Point" has a type and a kind of a simple index (or identifier). Different vendors (or even different people) use different list. In one case the "Phase A Voltage to ground" may have the index "26717" in another case it may be "363.26". Do you know what these numbers mean?

This is comparable to the web of today: search engines are searching mainly for ASCII strings. If I search for "Guenther" "Wilhelm", I could not specify that "Guenther" is the first name and "Wilhelm" is the family name. Google returns 18,700,000 hits. Searching for "Guenther Wilhelm" returns just 30,000 hits. The second is closer to what I am looking for. I would like to search linke this: "firstname = Guenther" and "familyname = Wilhelm". In this example we have added some semantic (meaning) to the names.

It would be nice to have reasonable names for the "signals" instead of just numbers and to have semantic added to the "signals". This would allow to interpret the list of signals - IF THE NAMES ARE CHOOSEN TO MEAN SOMETHING USEFUL. IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 are standards that define semantic and names for each signal - like the Semantic Web does.

According to Wikipedia is "The Semantic Web an evolving development of the World Wide Web in which the meaning (semantics) of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content."

In IEC 61850 we have decided many years ago that the name for the three-phase electrical system should be the same all over (in principle) and the same for all voltage levels - because the electrical system is the smae all over (with different voltages and frequences). The following picture shows two voltage levels and a single model for the three-phase system. The name "MMXU" stands for a logical node defining all crucial information that describes a three-phase electrical system. The "PhV" (phase voltage) has a "PhsA" value etc. Each of the values has SI-Units, scaling factors etc. These names expose the same information allover, in all applications (in substations and in factories, on ships, on railways, ...). Why do we need myriads of different indices in current solutions for the same information?


The communication based on simple lists seems to be simple. But if your company has Millions of points to test and to manage ... what then? Guess there is no need to discuss the problems handling huge lists - lists that are differently formatted and contained in Wordfiles, Spreadsheets, pdf files, just on paper, data bases, ... How could one make these lists machine readable? One of my customers told me that the have to maintain 1,300 documents containing signal lists - wow.

IEC 61850 is - to my knowledge - the only comprehensive standard that defines common and specific information models for the electric power industry and beyond. We had a proposal to add a "FishCounter" for hydro power plants ... why not? The standard also defines services to exchange the values and concrete protocols to serialize the services.

IEC 61850 could be understood as the "Semantic Web" of the power automation and protection world. Now you can read the Phase voltage of MMXU1 of the logical device SpyDER under the address: In order to know where this device is located you just can talk to the device to retrieve some description or you can use the system configuration description file (according to IEC 61850-6). This file has all semantic information including the binding of the model to the real world.

Click HERE for an example of a device that implements the MMXU logical node and exposes the voltage of the power outlet it is connected to.

In this regard IEC 61850 is MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Accepted) -- accepted all over.

NIST Smart Grid Roadmap open for Comments

The Draft NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability
Standards, Release 1.0
is open for Comments. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the Department of Commerce invites you to comment on the crucial roadmap towards a smarter Grid.

The commenting period ends on November 09, 2009.

Click HERE for a description of the procedure and any other information needed to comment on this crucial document.

Please take a moment (or two) to review and comment the draft roadmap. This is your chance to contribute in this open process. Your opinion is crucial. If you have and comment you want to share with me please feel free to contact me.

Smart(er) Grids: US DoE spends $ 100,000,000 on training - and you?

Smart Grids require smart engineers. Are there enough power engineers available to design, plan, build, operate, maintain, ... the Smart(er) Grids yet to be build? NO! So, what to do? The solution is as simple as this: Educate more people interested to keep the gras green, the sky blue and the power flowing.

The Billions of US$ to be spent for the Smart(er) Grids during the next years require skilled people that have already experience in power systems and power system automation - but may not have been educated to use advanced information and communication technologies for:

  • Self-healing mechanisms conducted by smart devices
  • Demand response
  • Handling physical and cyber attacks
  • Providing high power quality
  • Accommodating a mix of multiple generation and storage options
  • Enabling new opportunities in the power delivery
  • Optimizing asset usage and lifetime, and operation efficiency

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has realized that EDUCATION is key for the success in implementing a Smart(er) Grid. It spends $ 100,000,000 for various measures to improve the Knowledge, Understanding, and Application of advanced information and communication technologies!! The earlier you start with the training - the better.

I have already started to train my grandson:


One crucial element in building the Samrt(er) Grid is the use of various international standards: IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 61968/70 CIM, DNP3, IEC 61131-3 (PLC programming), IEC 61499 (Functionblocks), IEC 61158 (Field busses) etc.

After training of more than 2,000 experts from more than 400 companies and more than 50 countries NettedAutomation is ready to educate you and your people soon - in order to get the most comprehensive Knowledge, Understanding, and Application of the above mentioned standards. You'd get first-hand, very comprehensive, vendor neutral and up-to-date knowledge, experience, and guidance; learn how to reach interoperability of devices; You'd get best advice.

Often I have found this situation:


That's good for vendors BUT not for Utilities and system integrators.

Click HERE for a brief statement of IEEE on the DoE plans.
Click HERE for a brand-new paper on "Professional Resources to Implement the “Smart Grid”" written by nine university and education experts.

Click HERE for a report on the latest training last week in Frankfurt/Germany where experts from 11 countries attended our IEC 61850 training.

CONTACT us by email in case you have any question with regard to your education needs on advanced standard information and communication technologies for the Smart(er) Grids.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Microsoft's Smart Energy Reference Architecture

Microsoft has published the other day a comprehensive "Power and Utilities - Smart Energy Reference Architecture". "Microsoft believes it’s more accurate to refer to the new utility landscape as a “smart energy ecosystem” that’s collaborative and integrated."

The Smartness comprises - of course - more than the Grid. The "smart energy ecosystem" describes the challenge very well.

Microsoft says that it "is committed to supporting these global efforts by taking a leadership role in the development of the smart energy ecosystem" as discussed in China, Europe, North America, ... by IEC, IEEE, ... IEC Standards (IEC 61968/70, IEC 61850, IEC 610870-6, ...) are referenced some 80 times in Microsoft's architecture!!

Click HERE for the full Microsoft Architecture [pdf, 6 MB].

The Smart Energy Ecosystem requires many Smart People defining, implementing and using the needed Standards to realize the vision. Smart People are those that are well educated.

Click HERE for an opportunity (in San Antonio, 29-30 October 2009) to get comprehensive education in the application of Standards like IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, DNP3, ... Click HERE for the program.

Experts from 11 countries attended IEC 61850 training in Frankfurt

More than 20 experts from 11 countries attended the Comprehensive & Independent Hands-on Training on IEC 61850 in Frankfurt (Germany), 20.-23. October 2009 organized by NettedAutomation GmbH and STRI:


Experts from: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and USA

In order for users and system integrators to utilize the benefits of IEC 61850 it is necessary for power utilities, integrators and vendors to education their most crucial asset – people.

The attendees have been educated in most crucial aspects of IEC 61850. The interoperability training (Client/Server and GOOSE) was run using IEDs from ABB (Relay), AREVA (Relay), Beckhoff (PLC), Ingeteam (Bay Controller), QNE (Measuring Unit), SEL (Relay), Siemens (Relay), Hirschmann (Ethernet Switch) and RuggedCom (Ethernet Switch and Router):


The SCL Engineering training was conducted by Joerg Reuter (Helinks):


Click HERE to find the scheduled seminars and training opportunities.
Click HERE to see the list of the ratings by course participants (very high level of satisfaction).

New Tool for IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25

Ingeteam Technology (Spain) released the INGESYS®energyFactorySuite 2.0: a comprehensive suite of tools for modeling, configuring and commissioning IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 systems.

Click HERE for a description of Ingeteam's IEDs for power system automation [pdf, 1.5 MB].
Click HERE for a description of Ingeteam's NEW Tool for IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 [pdf, 0.85 MB].
Click HERE to read more details on the tool and find link to download a demo version.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NIST Smart Grid Collaboration Site - News

The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) will be launched in Denver (Colorado) on 16 November 2009. This panel is being created to provide a more permanent structure and process—with stakeholder representation—to support the Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards.

The standards development process is likely to be monitored and supported by the panel. It is crucial that the standardization groups closely cooperate together and with the members of the SGIP - in order to reach a high level of interoperability for the many devices and systems to be installed in the future Smart(er) Grid.

TEAMWORK is very crucial to reach sustainable interoperability: Smart People for Smart Grids.

Note that several standards developed and published by IEC TC 57, e.g., IEC 61850, CIM, ... and DNP3 are crucial for the Roadmap - in the US and in many other regions and countries.

Click HERE for the website of the SGIP.
Click HERE for a ONE page introduction to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IEC61850-Tutorial während der SPS/IPC/Drives in Nürnberg

Was: Dreistündiges Tutorial "IEC 61850 - Die universale Norm für die Informations-Integration"

Die Norm IEC 61850 „Communication networks and systems for power utility automation“ ist die global anerkannte Integrationslösung für die Automatisierung in der elektrischen Energieversorgung und zunehmend in anderen Bereichen. Mittlerweile ist diese Norm ein wichtiger Baustein der weltweiten Aktivitäten zur Erneuerung der Energieversorgung hin zu einem Smart Grid. In dem Tutorial wird der Stand der Normung und der Anwendungen im In- und Ausland vorgestellt - möglicherweise sind Sie viel unmittelbarer von dieser Norm betroffen, als Sie glauben!

Wann: Tuesday, 24.11.2009, 14:00 - 17:00 hrs

Wo: Nürnberg (Germany)

Click HIER für weitere Informationen und das Anmeldeformular.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Interoperability, secure Investments and IEC

While some 50 IEC TC 57 experts from all over were meeting in Los Angeles this week to work on Interoperability Standards, the US Government announced a Comprehensive Energy Plan. One objective of the plan is to "support $ 32 Billion in loan guarantees and create $40-50 Billion in project investments" another is to "providing $750 million to accelerate conventional renewable energy projects" ... many dollars will be used to develop and use interoperable information and communication standards.

The information and communication technology for the Smart(er) Grids requires a high level of syntactic and semantic interoperability of the various products, solutions and systems that build up the future power system. Furthermore the specific requirements like long term investment security in existing interoperability standards (like IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5, IEC 61968/70, DNP3, ...) and legacy systems must be considered. These two rationales - interoperability and investment security - make it absolutely necessary to base all developments and investment of Billions of Dollar or Euros on a sound framework of sustainable interoperability standards. IEC and especially IEC TC 57 are developing crucial elements of this framework.

Click HERE for the US Government press release (2009-10-07)
Click HERE for the US Government presentation (2009-10-07)
Click HERE for IEC TC 57 Scope (Power systems management and associated information exchange)
Click HERE for the list of experts of WG 19 "Interoperability within TC 57 in the long term"
Click HERE for information on the IEC Special Group on Smart Grids (SG 3).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First PLC supporting IEC 61850 in comprehensive Hands-On Training

Beckhoff (Verl, Germany) provides an IEC 61850 compliant Standard PLC with a Server according to IEC 61850 for the comprehensive Hands-On Training in Frankfurt (Germany) on October 20-23, 2009:


The Seminar and Hands-on Training  will cover all crucial aspects of the standards and common IEDs from ABB, Areva, Siemens, Omicron, Megger, ... and Beckhoff.

Click HERE for details of the program.
Click HERE for other training opportunities all over.
Click HERE for more details on the Beckhoff PLC with IEC 61850 support.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Australia to invest AUD 43 Billion in communication

The Australian Government and other stakeholders will invest up to AUD 43 billion over eight years to build and operate a National Broadband Network to bring broadband communication to Australian homes and workplaces. This infrastructure is likely being used for Smart Grid applications.

Click HERE for more details.

The Government also announced the other day investment of up to AUD 100 million to develop the Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project in partnership with the energy sector in 2010.

Click HERE for more details.

Smart Grids are the future Backbones of societies ... all over. No power - no communication; no communication - no power.

Monday, October 5, 2009

IEC 61850 IED Scout version 2.10 available

Omicron has posted a new version (2.10) of the IEC 61850 IED Scout on their website for download. There is also some information available on the use cases for the tool.
Be aware that the software runs in demo mode only. If you want to see the full functionality you need a dongle from Omicron.
In case you want to see this and many other tools fully functional in action, you may attend the upcoming IEC 61850 training opportunities in Frankfut, San Antonio, Brisbane or Sydney.
Click HERE for information on IEC 61850 training opportunities.
Click HERE to visit the Omicron web page for more details on the IED Scout.

Friday, October 2, 2009

German E-Energy Projects presented at IEEE PES meeting in Calgary

Standards are crucial for the success of the future electric power delivery system - in Germany, Europe, and globally. A presentation of "The German program to manage future power supply" (E-Energy program) during the IEEE PES general meeting in Calgary in July 2009 provides some details of the base architecture and technologies of the German E-Energy Projects (see last but one page for the protocol architecture).

Click HERE to download the presentation.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

smart grid - Smart IEDs - SMART PEOPLE

Dalibor Kladar talks on his blog about substation integration benefits and starts with the statement: "The intelligence of power system (PS) is concentrated in HW/SW products for substation automation and integration. Those products common name is - Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED). The IED is the ‘building block’ of SG".

A statement: "This is an IED" does not mean that the HW and SW is really intelligent. In many cases the "I" in "IED" stands for "Ignorant" - Ignorant Electronic Device.

How does the intelligence come into devices to make them intelligent? By magic? No - there are hundreds of engineers, programmers, architects, accountants, managers, ... involved one way or the other. Many smart people help to make devices and systems really intelligent - others block even interested people to get involved, to get the needed knowledge, education and skills to build and use intelligent devices and systems!

A lack of education or knowledge in the area of information, information exchange and configuration of systems in the domain of Smart Grid will endanger our daily need for secure electric power.

During the last 5 years I have trained some 2.000 people from more than 350 companies and from some 50 countries in the area of advanced international smart grid standards for IEDs. It is quite obvious: smart grids are build by smart IEDs - that are developed by SMART PEOPLE - that are trained by other SMART PEOPLE.

We can help smart people to learn the benefits of standards like DNP2, IEC 60870-6-TASE.2 (ICCP), IEC 60870-5-101/104, IEC 61850, IEC 61968/70 CIM, ... and how to build smart(er) grids.

Click HERE to get more information on education opportunities in Frankfurt (Oct. 20-23), San Antonio (Oct. 29-30), Brisbane (Nov. 30), Sydney (Dec. 02).

Click HERE to read the Blog of Dalibor Klador.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

100 million US Dollar for single Smart Grid Project!?

Yes! The U.S. government is spending some 4.5 billion US Dollar to smart grid development as part of the economic stimulus package. In San Diego (CA) a coalition of some 25 organizations is applying for 100 million US Dollar of the stimulus funds! The coalition will increase renewable generation, ... store electricity and use more sensors, communication technologies and automation to interconnect the resources.

Click HERE to read the UCSD news release.

A portion of this money may be spend to develop several new communication solutions or it can be invested to apply available standards like DNP3, IEC 61850, ... TASE.2, BacNet.

Click HERE to get a copy of the 3rd edition of the "Comparison of IEC 60870-5-101/-103/-104, DNP3,
and IEC 60870-6-TASE.2 with IEC 61850"

U.S. Smart Grid development gets support from Europe

AREVA’s Transmission and Distribution division (T&D, based in France) announced the other day that it will deliver crucial components (IEDs - Intelligent Electronic Devices) to support Smart Grid research by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

AREVA provides 13 different IEDs, to be used in the Institute’s labs. The devices will help EPRI to implementing the ‘Smart Grid’: distance protection, transformer protection, line current differential management, feeder management, phasor measurement and GPS time synchronization.
The devices provided by AREVA and other companies, will be used to build a small Smart Grid so that various scenarios and tests can be performed. One of the building blocks will be the IEC 61850 process bus and station bus for system wide interoperability. 

“The goal of this project is to provide a test bed for new ideas to address the challenges facing the Smart Grid,” noted Paul Myrda, Technical Executive at EPRI. “Ultimately, we expect to couple this facility with our existing ‘living lab’ that primarily deals with end-user devices and with our ‘Sensor’ lab that is focused on asset health assessment.”

Smart Grids will be composed of devices, systems and tools from multiple vendors. The key issue in multi-vendor projects is the Interoperability of all components that provide or consume information for the many tasks.

An interoperability test lab based on the IEC 61850 station bus has been build up by STRI (Ludvika, Sweden):

Click HERE for an overview about the IEC 61850 Interoperability lab.
Click HERE for a story on "The true meaning of IEC 61850 - Interoperability!"
Click HERE to see what's next on the agenda of training for multi-vendor systems.

Monday, September 28, 2009

E-Energy Jahreskongress 26.-27.11.2009 in Berlin

Das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie veranstaltet den ersten E-Energy Jahreskongress am Donnerstag 26.11. und Freitag 27.11. im Konferenzzentrum des BMWi in Berlin.

Mit den E-Energy-Projekten soll in Deutschland der "Durchbruch zum intelligenten Elektrizitätssystem" (oder - wie die Angelsachsen sagen: Smart Grid) erreicht werden!

Laut Veranstalter "bietet der E-Energy Jahreskongress Gelegenheit, Ergebnisse, Akteure und das große Potenzial von E-Energy konkret kennenzulernen. Dem interessierten Fachpublikum bietet der Kongress die Möglichkeit, mit allen E-Energy Projektbeteiligten sowie prominenten Vertretern aus Politik, Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft zu diskutieren. Seien Sie dabei, wenn die Weichen für das Energieversorgungssystem der Zukunft gestellt werden."

Sie sollten sich unbedingt kurzfristig um eine Vorregistrierung bemühen!

Klicken Sie HIER, um zum Programm und zur Anmeldeseite zu gelangen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Security measures for IEC 60870-5-101 and -104

The standards IEC 60870-5-101 and -104 are in use for many years and will be applied during the next years. The security measures of these protocols need to be improved to meet the market requirements. These standards are used for the communication between control centers and underlying systems like substations or power plants.

A New Work Item (Security Extensions to IEC 60870-5-101 and IEC 60870-5-104 protocols; IEC document 57/1029/NP) has been proposed to apply the just published Technical Specification IEC 62351-5 for 101 and 104: The ballot for the NWP closes 2009-12-11. If you are interested to join that work, please contact your national committee of the IEC TC 57.

IEC/TS 62351-5 Ed. 1.0 - Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security - Part 5: Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives

Click HERE for a preview of IEC/TS 62351-5.

Telecontrol equipment and systems – Part 5-101: Transmission protocols - Companion standard for basic telecontrol tasks

Click HERE for a preview of -101.

Telecontrol equipment and systems – Part 5-104: Transmission protocols – Network access for IEC 60870-5-101 using standard transport profiles

Click HERE for a preview of -104.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Release of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today (2009-09-24) unveiled an accelerated plan for developing standards to transform the U.S. power distribution system into a secure, more efficient and environmentally friendly Smart Grid and create clean-energy jobs.

The NIST Draft Publication "NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Release 1.0 (Draft)" published by the Office of the U.S. National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability" is the result of thousands of working-hours of hundreds of smart people from many states and countries.

Smart Grids will be build on standards. The most crucial standards are required for the following areas:

  • Demand Response and Consumer Energy Efficiency
  • Wide Area Situational Awareness
  • Electric Storage
  • Electric Transportation
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure
  • Distribution Grid Management
  • Cyber Security
  • Network Communications

NIST found that the market has reached already consensus on 16 standards. After review of this list, there are now 31 standards understood as crucial for the smart grid. Many crucial IEC standards like standards from IEC TC 57: IEC 60870-6 (TASE.2), IEC 61850, IEC 61969/61970 (CIM), IEC 62351; IEC TC 65: IEC 62541; other committees: ISO/IEC 15045, ISO/IEC 15067, ISO/IEC 18012, ... are members of the list of the 31 standards!

The experts identified some 70 gaps in the list of standards. 14 gaps have been identified as MOST CRUCIAL to be solved:

"For each, an action plan has been developed, specific organizations tasked, and aggressive milestones in 2009 or early 2010 established. One action plan has already been completed. The Priority Action Plans and targets for completion are (in bold = impact from/on standards of IEC TC 57):

  1. Smart meter upgradeability standard (completed)
  2. Common specification for price and product definition (early 20I0)
  3. Common scheduling mechanism for energy transactions (year-end 2009)
  4. Common information model for distribution grid management (year-end 20I0)
  5. Standard demand response signals (January 2010)
  6. Standard for energy use information (January 2010)
  7. IEC 61850 Objects / DNP3 Mapping (2010)
  8. Time synchronization (mid-2010)
  9. Transmission and distribution power systems models mapping (year-end 20I0)
  10. Guidelines for use of IP protocol suite in the Smart Grid(mid-year20I0)
  11. Guidelines for use of wireless communications in the Smart Grid (mid-year 2010)
  12. Electric storage interconnection guidelines (mid-2010)
  13. Interoperability standards to support plug-in electric vehicles (December 2010)
  14. Standard meter data profiles (year-end 2010)

Click HERE to read the press release of today (2009-09-24).

Click HERE to download the 90 page Draft Release 1.0 of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards

With that official Draft it is confirmed that crucial international Standards published by IEC TC 57, TC 65, and TC 88 are key for the sustainable interoperability of smart devices and smart systems in smart grids - developed by smart people.

Click HERE for a discussion on the availability of smart people.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What do you expect from Smart(er) Grids?

Saifur Rahman has summarized in the September 2009 issue of the IEEE "power & energy" magazine what experts believe could be expected from Smart(er) Grids.

In the first paragraph he states: "The term “smart grid” is almost becoming a household name. From the U.S. president talking about the smart grid to television commercials on this topic, we have a plethora of activities around the world where engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and businesses have shown a keen interest in various aspects of this technology. There are smart-grid-related funding opportunities, projects, seminars, conferences, and training programs going on in Europe, the United States, Japan, and China to name a few." There are millions of Dollars, Euro, ... waiting for "smart" managers to be spend by "smart" engineers.

Mr. Rahman's view on what is required for a Smart(er) distribution Grid is the implementation of:

  • Automated Meter Reading
  • Security and Privacy Issues
  • Advanced Communication Infrastructure and Cybersecurity
  • Ineroperability standards
  • Greening of the Grid
  • Business Model for Customer Level Integration

He asks, what is next? The answer is: "

I can see many nonutility players entering this smart-grid market and attempt to provide solutions. For example, many computer networking companies have plans to deliver an end-to-end, highly secure network infrastructure that helps utility customers take the most advantage of energy efficiency, demand reduction, and the integration of renewable energy sources in their homes and businesses. The end result may not be cost reduction but more value for the money spent and an environmentally friendly power grid."

Click HERE to read the view of Saifur Rahman as published in the IEEE "power & energy" magazine.

I took a photo of an interesting ad by IBM at the Berlin Tegel Airport (Germany) on 2009-09-15:


What I see allover is that ICT (information and communication technology) is meeting the power distribution world. BUT: Where are the utility (automation and protection) experts that can understand the impact of ICT on the availability and stability of the grid? There is not much automation implemented in distribution networks today. So, the ICT companies will provide smart solutions for a market that uses very little automation. Usually ICT experts know the "I" and "C" in ICT very well - but the distribution grid is mainly a huge electrical system between the already smart transmission grid and many users.

I hope that the people in charge for the distribution grids have a good understanding of the real-time electrical network! The electrical grid is quite different compared to a business dealing with bananas, orange juice or books.

Smart(er) Distribution Grids require first smart (electrical) engineers! There are smart engineers for the transmission grid ...

Click HERE for some information regarding the Lack of Power Engineers - A Risk for Smart Grids.

Friday, September 18, 2009

IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25: How to report errors, missing definitions or ambiguities

Standards like IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 are no exception when it comes to errors, missing definitions or ambiguities in the published documents. Most issues (called TISSUES - Technical issues) with regard to the first 14 parts have been solved during the last years. The edition 2 of the standard will be a "clean" version.

Recently new parts like IEC 61850-7-410 (Hydro Power extensions), IEC 61850-7-420 (DER extensions) and the standard series IEC 61400-25 (Wind Power extensions) have been published.

Click HERE if you have a TISSUE to report on IEC 61850-7-410 (Hydro)

Click HERE if you have a TISSUE to report on IEC 61850-7-420 (DER)

Click HERE if you have a TISSUE to report on IEC 61400-25 (Wind)

Before you post a new tissue you may first check if it has already been posted.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PSI supports TASE.2 and CIM

PSI reports in the latest Magazine "energie manager" (1/2009) that they deliver a SCADA and DMS system for Enexis (Netherlands) supporting TASE.2 for inter-control center communication (IEC 60870-6) and CIM (Common Information Model, IEC 61968/70) for information exchange in the control center.

TASE.2, CIM along with IEC 61850 are crucial international standards published by IEC TC 57 "Power systems management and associated information exchange" and used in utilities (Electric, Gas, Oil, ...). The scope of the IEC TC 57 is "To prepare international standards for power systems control equipment and systems ...". Power systems means electric power systems. So, how can you use these standards, e.g., for the Gas applications? IEC stands for "International Electrotechnical Commission". So the scope is to prepare and publish International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.

It is somehow "forbidden" to claim that IEC standards like IEC 61850 are applicable for any other control equipment and systems outside the electrical world. BUT - from a technical point of view -: IEC 61850 could be understood as a framework of (extensible) information models, information exchange methods, and configuration language for devices and systems in many application domains. The first edition of the standard models did not provide a model for a rotor - because substations do not have rotors. We extended the information models for wind turbines (published under IEC 61400-25). So, you can define (or standardize in another organization) an object for "Gas pressure" ... and use the whole communication and configuration infrastructure available for substation automation - and vice versa.

Some people (that do not like these standards) argue against their applications outside the electric world by saying: "You can not use these IEC standards, because their scope is restricted to the electric world." Fortunately, technical solutions based on these standards do not care about what some people say!

Click HERE to search for CIM related blog entries of this blog.

Click HERE to read a brochure on IEC 61400-25 [pdf]

Click HERE to read a paper on IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 and CIM [pdf]

Embedded controller exposes electric measurements through IEC 61850

A new, easy to install embedded device for electrical measurements provides crucial information on the status of the power system through the following information in (or near) real-time by an IEC 61850 Server:

  • Voltage L1 true RMS
  • Voltage L2 true RMS
  • Voltage L3 true RMS
  • Current L1 true RMS
  • Current L2 true RMS
  • Current L3 true RMS
  • Instantaneous Real Power
  • Instantaneous Reactive Power
  • Grid Frequency Power Angle (Cos Phi)


The IEC 61850 Server (build into the box shown above) provides the crucial MMXU Logical Node (3 phase Measurements) and COMTRADE formatted files of the values. The Server's Information model is shown below:



This Information model is derived from the real device (the server implemented at the device) via IEC 61850 self-description services. The model could be converted to an SCL file (according to IEC 61850-6):


A complete Substation Specification (.ssd and .scd file) according to IEC 61850-6 would provide also how the Information model is bound to the real electrical installation, e.g., where is the measurement taken etc. The complete description contained in the SCL file could be used by any system (Gateway, SCADA database, ...).

Further information models (calculated in an application or from the physical input/output terminals) can be implemented. The platform could be used for many applications in power systems and other domains.

QNE (Oldenburg/Germany) is active in the domain of Smart Metering, Embedded Real-Time HW/SW Systems, SCADA, Analog and Digital Transducers, Technology Consulting, Research & Development

Click HERE to read a two page flyer [pdf].

Friday, September 11, 2009

Paper on IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 accepted for DistribuTech 2010

The abstract "MONITORING OF POWER SYSTEM AND COMMUNICATION INFRASTRUCTURES BASED ON IEC 61850 AND IEC 61400-25" (by Karlheinz Schwarz) has been accepted for presentation at the DistribuTech 2010 (Tampa, FL, USA).

The focus of the first edition of IEC 61850 was on substation operational aspects (mainly protection and control). Various groups have identified that IEC 61850 is the basis of further applications, e.g., monitoring of functions, processes, primary equipment, and the communication infrastructure in substations and other power system application domains. The second edition and other extensions provide new definitions to keep the high quality and availability of power systems, to reduce commissioning
time and life cycle costs.

Track Assignment: Enterprise Information and Asset Management
Session Assignment: Case Studies of Advanced Applications Extending Benefits of Automation & Control Data
Date: 2010-03-24 (Wednesday)
Time of session: 9:30 AM
Type of Session: paper

Click HERE for the abstract.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beckhoff's TwinCAT supports IEC 61850

Beckhoff opens up new opportunities by implementing this communication protocol in a software PLC: The user can use a cost-effective standard PLC for controlling his electrical installation, which not only offers the benefits of PC-based control technology but can also communicate externally via the IEC 61850 compliant communication. The basic standard defines a general transmission protocol for protective and control equipment in medium and high voltage electrical substations. This means that time-consuming and costly special developments for the implementation of manufacturer-specific protocols are no longer required, and the associated engineering is simplified significantly.
Customers can utilize the complete communication stack developed by Beckhoff in the form of a PLC library.

As extension to the basic IEC 61850 standard, IEC 61400-25 defines the communication requirements for monitoring and controlling wind turbines. The integration of this standard into the TwinCAT library will simplify the control of heterogeneous wind farms significantly. The wind farm standard is characterized by a single wind power-specific datset, so that TwinCAT users can use TcIEC61850Server.lib for communication purposes and TcIEC61400_25.lib for specific logical nodes and common data classes.

Click HERE for a two page brochure in English.
Click HERE for a two page brochure in German.

The TwinCat solution will be used during the next Hands-on Training in Frankfurt (Germany) on October 23, 2009.

Click HERE for the program of the training in Frankfurt.

SystemCorp (Perth, Australia) offers new IEC 61850 IEDs

The IEC 61850 software stack PIS-10 accommodates client and server functionality. It is portable across various software platforms. Data throughput and other Ethernet related performance criteria are inherited from the operating system.

The stack supports MMS, GOOSE, Sampled Value functionality as well as buffered and unbuffered reporting. Data sets are defined using the WebCAN Designer Studio configuration software.

Protoocol conversation from other SCADA protocols such as IEC 8750-5-10 or DNP3.0 require only the additional executable files to be downloaded and configured through WebCAN Designer Studio.


  • Portable IEC 61850 Client and Server Software Stack PIS-10
  • Fully Integrated Single Chip Solution IPC-10
  • Compact Protocol Converter CFE-40
  • Distribution Remote Terminal Unit MRU-10
  • WebCAN Substation RTU and Data Gateway
  • WebCAN Designer Studio Configuration Tool


  • Microsoft Windows XP, 2003/2008 and Vista
  • Ubuntu Linux (x86,x86-64)
  • Embedded Linux (ARM, Coldfire)
  • Beck @Chip SC1x3 RTOS
  • Other platforms available on request

Click HERE for a two page description [pdf].

etz-Report 34 (IEC 61850) als E-Book erhältlich

Der etz Report 34 "Offene Kommunikation nach IEC 61850 für die Schutz- und Stationsleittechnik", 2004, 159 Seiten, DIN A4 ist jetzt auch als E-Book erhältlich:


Click HIER, um das Vorwort zu lesen.

Click HIER für weitere Informationen zum E-Book (Inhalt, Bestellung, ...).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

IEC 61850-6 (SCL) - Final ballot on Configuration Language Edition 2

The most crucial part of the second edition of IEC 61850 "Communication networks and systems for power utility automation" -Part 6 "Configuration description language for communication in electrical substations related to IEDs" is available for final (FDIS) Ballot until November 06, 2009. This is the first part of Edition 2 that is out for Ballot.

The new edition fixes some technical issues of the first edition. Extensions are based on changes in other parts, e.g., Part 7-2 and 7-3; the engineering process, especially for configuration data exchange between system configuration tools, has been added.

Contact your national TC 57 committee for a copy if you want to do a final check of the document. The files distributed by IEC contain all xml schema files etc. needed to create and interpret SCL files.

Example SCL file from AREVA (.icd file), Edition 1 compliant.

Note that the SCL (Substation Configuration Language) would be better named: System Configuration Language. Main parts of the standard can be used for many other application domains. Any information that can be modeled with Logical Nodes and Data Objects according to IEC 61850 rules, can be used as domain specific "words". The communication of these "words" from a "sender" (Server and Publisher) to a "receiver" (Client and Subscriber) can be described in SCL. The communication may be realized with MMS (Client/Server), or GOOSE and SMV (Publisher/Subscriber).

The new "words" may be a "Fish Counter" in a hydro power plant or a "Bird Counter" in a wind turbine. SCL can describe (without any modification) that a device (Server) provides this information and that it can automatically be communicated by IEC 61850 reporting to another computer (Client) every day or be stored locally in an IEC 61850 log. The CSL file can be used to automatically configure the server and/or the client!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Interoperable Standards for Smart Grid: US$ 8.5 million for two year support to get there

The Smart Grid in the U.S. (and all over!) relies on information and networking technologies to allow advanced control and communication capabilities. "It is a key component of President Obama’s plans to achieve energy independence and to address climate change.", according to NIST.

NIST has awarded EnerNex (based in Knoxville, TN, USA) to help in developing "Smart Grid interoperability standards" and helping in standards "harmonization effort". Under the US$ 8.5 million contract, EnerNex will help NIST during the next two years to reach a higher level of interoperability of systems and devices needed for a smart(er) electric power delivery system.

Many people in charge of the U.S. power delivery system - obviously - have understood the importance of a sustainable Interoperability in the utility domain.

Two crucial "interoperability projects" have been run by EPRI many years ago: UCA 1.0 and UCA 2.0. The UCA 2.0 was taken over by IEC TC 57 as the foundation of IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25. The GREAT cooperation between the North American experts and experts from all over has let to the BIG success of UCA 2.0 - which is (of course) now IEC 61850.

Click HERE for a comparison of UCA 2.0 and IEC 61850.

I would appreciate if the history would repeat: The development of the many standards for a SMART(er) GRID will be done by international cooperation for a global market!! The need for smarter systems is an international requirement - to the good of human beings and the nature - in Russia, Germany, USA, Australia, ... Smart experts at TERNA (the Italian TSO) have already started to make the Italian Transmission Grid smarter with IEC 61850:


... and some 350 Indian experts have been trained on IEC 61850 in a three day event in Bangalore:


And how are you getting involved? With the help of real experts you can speed up your knowledge in international smart grid standards very fast - ask the right experts during the upcoming IEC 61850 events in Frankfurt, San Antonio, Nürnberg, Brisbane and Sydney, ...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

IEC 61850 Hands-on Training in Brisbane and Sydney (Australia) confirmed

The final program, locations, and dates for two 3 day events in Australia are now confirmed:

Brisbane (Australia): 30 November - 02 December 2009
Sydney (Australia): 02-04 December 2009

According to feedback from interested experts we have modified the program to have more practical exercises (1 1/2 days theory and 1 1/2 hands-on training with real IEDs).

Click HERE for the final program, registration form and other details [pdf].

Please note that the event in Brisbane is almost sold out. Several seats are available for the Sydney event.

We are confident, that our experience and service will meet all your expectations! You’d get first-hand, very comprehensive, vendor neutral and up-to-date knowledge, experience, and guidance; learn how to reach interoperability of devices; You'd get best advice - for the best price.

I look forward to seeing you down under later this year.

Please feel free to forward this email to any colleagues who you think might be interested in the event.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Technical Report IEC 61850-90-1 accepted

The Draft Technical Report "Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part IEC 61850-90-1: Use of IEC 61850 for the communication between substations" has been positively balloted.

The Technical report will be published on Sept 15, 2009.

Click HERE for a list of applications contained in part IEC 61850-90-1.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vendor-independent IEC 61850 Hands-on Training at Itaipu (Brazil)

To gain vendor-independent knowledge and experience is one of the crucial steps towards the implementation of IEC 61850 based multi-vendor projects. Itaipu (Brazil) has trained their substation experts in two courses. A comprehensive seminar at Itaipu was conducted in 2007 (Christoph Brunner and Karlheinz Schwarz). The hands-on training by STRI (Ludvika, Sweden) was run onsite in Itaipu last week (brief report in Portuguese).

The interoperability of IEDs (intelligent electronic devices) from different manufacturers needs to be tested. Experts have to understand the standardized functions AND restrictions build into the IEDs. How do IEDs use the standard? What are the constraints of limited resources in an IED? What are the functions (Reverse blocking, Auto reclosing, Switching with synchrocheck, Earthfault detection, ...) that use IEC 61850 and how are they using the standard?

STRI and NettedAutomation provide comprehensive education from understanding the Standards and Training with real IEDs - You’ll get first-hand, very comprehensive, vendor neutral and up-to-date knowledge, experience, and guidance. You'll learn how to reach interoperability of devices.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Interoperability in the context of IEC 61850

There are many efforts underway to define or extend standards that allow or support Interoperability between devices in the electric power delivery system. IEC 61850 is one of the crucial standards that is understood as to meet basic requirements.

According to the "EICTA White Paper on Standardization and Interoperability, Brussels, November, 2006 (page 4)" Interoperability is defined as follows:

“The capability of two or more networks, systems, devices, applications, or components to exchange information between them and to use the information so exchanged.”

What does this all mean for the application of IEC 61850? Currently there are some problems with the interoperability of real devices implementing one or the other option of IEC 61850. That is the challenge: Which option do the devices use that are intended to be interoperable?

We have to differentiate interoperability on different levels: physical, syntactical, services, devices, … functions. In the following we will briefly focus on services and devices [Note: This discussion just points to the general issue of options; details on interoperability issues are presented and discussed during the seminars of NettedAutomation GmbH (Karlsruhe/Germany)].

The following slide summarizes some option of what Interoperability could mean for a simple use case. The Purpose of the use case is:
Monitor the Temperature (Tmp) and figure out when the Tmp exceeds the Limit (Lim). There are two devices involved (Client and Server). Depending on the functional distribution of the monitoring function (located in the client or in the server) we can use one or the other Service of IEC 61850. In the case of Services A and B we assume that the purpose is to implement the monitoring function in the client. In the other two cases (C and D) we assume that the monitoring function is provided by the device that acts as server.


The four services (associated with the functional distribution) are quite different. Once the "user" (usually the system integrator) of the client and  the "user" of the server HAVE DECIDED WHICH APPROACH (A, B, C, or D) to use then we could talk about interoperability. IEC 61850 DOES NOT constrain which approach to use. IEC 61850 is scalable - that means YOU HAVE TO make decisions how to scale! Which option to use!

The IEC 61850 services do not constrain the behavior of an IEC 61850 client application process, except with respect to valid sequences of service primitives. Therefore a model of the IEC 61850 client application process is not (!) provided in the current standard.

If the two "users" decide to use the option with Service A then we could define, what is required to make the client and server interoperable. This is defined in IEC 61850 for all approaches shown in the figure.

Challenges with regard to interoperability are here: The "users" of both devices DO NOT define the exact approach (to use an approach with Service A or B, C,or D). Just to expect that the vendors have implemented ALL approaches is dangerous: Usually the vendors implement the mandatory (M) requirements - which could also be translated to M=Minimum! Two devices conformant with IEC 61850(with a Certificate) may or may not interoperate! Depending on the functional distribution and the services provided and used.

Non-Interoperability could have many reasons:

1. Client and server might implement only a subset of the full specification. In some cases, there may be a mismatch in what features are supported, where one system sends a message that the other cannot process.

2. The IEC 61850 specification makes certain things optional. If one implementation assumes that specific information will exist on messages it receives, it may not interoperate with another implementation that chooses not to send that information.

3. Two implementers may interpret parts of the standard, where the language of the specification is ambiguous.

4. Finally, implementers may simply have bugs in their implementation that that do not show up during standalone testing. Such bugs may also contribute to interoperability problems when two different implementations attempt to hook together.

To make devices interoperable requires (among other requirements) that the "users" of two devices specify exactly the distribution of the (application) functionality and which service to use for that functionality!

This specification (and the discussion of the involved people) is mainly outside of the standardization work. Some hints on the modeling approach (not that much on the use of services) will be given in new documents to be published by IEC, e.g., IEC 61850-7-510: Hydroelectric power plants – Modeling concepts and guidelines. This Technical Report is intended to provide explanations on how to use the Logical Nodes defined in IEC 61850-7-410 as well as other documents in the IEC 61850 series to model complex control functions in power plants.

Example of working draft of IEC 61850-7-510 (2009-08) - Excitation function:


The document will provide general use cases of the models defined in IEV 61850-7-410.

Sustainable Interoperability of devices is a crucial challenge in the domain of Power Automation systems.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Revised Input to NIST Interoperability Roadmap available

The input from EPRI to NIST was out for public review until end of July 2009. The team has received 83 comments that have been used to revise the EPRI input to NIST.

Many IEC Standards are referenced in the document: IEC 61968/70 (CIM), IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 61499, ...

Click HERE to download the Report to NIST on the Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Roadmap After Comments were addressed [pdf].

Click HERE to download the Consolidated Comments August 10, 2009 [pdf].

Click HERE to check results of the Workshop, August 3-4, 2009.

Click HERE to check the latest Priority Action Plans (PAPs) that has been updated on August 10; after the August 3-4, 2009, Workshop.

Friday, August 14, 2009

IEC 61131-3 SPS-Programmierung und IEC 61850

Zunehmend findet IEC 61850 Eingang in die Welt der Steuerungen. Neben anderen namhaften deutschen Herstellern hat jetzt auch WAGO (Minden) einen IEC-61850-Server in die Steuerungssoftware integriert.

Aufbauend auf der Codesys Version 3 bietet WAGO eine IEC-61850-Bibliothek an, mit der die Vorteile der Objektorientierung unter Verwendung der Objektmodelle der Normenreihe IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 genutzt werden können.

Click HIER für eine einseitige Einführung in IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 [pdf]

Click HIER für einen weiterführenden Artikel zur WAGO-Lösung im Heft 8-2009 der Zeitschrift Computer & Automation.

Im Artikel wird noch davon ausgegangen, dass IEC 61850 nur eine Abbildung der Objekte und Kommunikation unterstützt: MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification, ISO 9506). Seit einem Jahr gibt es eine internationale Norm mit weiteren Abbildungen: IEC 61400-25-4:

IEC 61400-25 umfasst die folgenden fünf Abbildungen:

  • SOAP-based web services,
  • a mapping to OPC/XML-DA,
  • a mapping to MMS (IEC 61850-8-1),
  • a mapping to IEC 60870-5-104,
  • a mapping to DNP3.

Click HIER für weitere Details zu den Mappings (Abbildungen).

Unter dem Titel "IEC 61850 - Die universale Norm für die Informations-Integration" wird am Dienstag, 24.11.2009, 14:00 - 17:00 Uhr, während der SPS/IPC/Drives in Nürnberg ein Tutorial durchgeführt; Vortragssprache ist Deutsch.

IEC 61850 Hands-on Training in Australia (December 2009)

IEC 61850 is the global standard for Power System Automation (generation, transport, distribution ... high, medium and low voltage levels). It allows for an open and “future proof” design, different architectures and possibilities to combine products from multiple vendors. In order for users and system integrators to utilize the benefits of IEC 61850 it is necessary for power utilities, integrators and vendors to educate their most crucial asset – People; and to start the migration to IEC 61850.

The popular STRI and NettedAutomation hands-on training provides both theory and practice on the application of IEC 61850 in a substation. During the training we follow the planning, design and engineering process for real applications all the way to configuration and testing on a real multivendor test installation. We believe real understanding is the result of both knowledge and hands-on experience. Therefore the training offers a unique combination of presentations, demonstrations and practical workshops in smaller groups.

Many utility experts have been trained, as TERNA (Italy):


The interest in performing such an event in Australia is high. We are right now negotiating with some utilities to fix the content, dates and locations.

Tentative locations and dates for 3 day events:

Brisbane (Australia): 30 November - 02 December 2009
Sydney (Australia): 02-04 December 2009

Click HERE for the tentative program and other details [pdf].

By end of August 2009 it is expected to announce the final contents, locations and dates.