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.

Updated FERC Smart Grid Policy and Interoperability

The US Federal Energy Regulators Commission (FERC) has published recently an updated Smart Grid Policy (Docket No. PL09-4-000, Issued July 16, 2009).

Excerpt from the summary of the report: "This Policy Statement provides guidance regarding the development of a smart grid for the nation’s electric transmission system, focusing on the development of key standards to achieve interoperability and functionality of smart grid systems and devices. In response to the need for urgent action on potential challenges to the bulk-power system, in this Policy Statement the Commission provides additional guidance on standards to help to realize a smart grid. ...".

The essential term used is "Interoperability" (Interoperability is described as exchanging meaningful information between two or more systems and achieving an agreed expectation for the response to the information exchange while maintaining reliability, accuracy, and security; according to GridWise). The term "Interoperability" is used 89 times throughout the policy statement.

One of the crucial standards that supports interoperability in power system automation, protection and control is the standard IEC 61850 ... also referred to in the policy statement: "The Commission stated that IEC Standards 61970 and 61968 (together, Common Information Model), along with IEC 61850 (Communications Networks and Systems in Substations), could provide a basis for addressing this issue."

Interoperability is impacted by many aspects (standard definition, implementation, subsetting, resources available in a device, ...). Two IEDs that are fully compliant may not be able to talk together, because of resource restrictions. A Server IED may support 3 TCP connections. A fourth client that wants to retrieve some information from that server cannot even open a TCP connection - due to the resource restriction. From an application point of view the two devices cannot interoperate.

There is a crucial difference in the use of TCP for general web applications and IEC 61850 (and other close to real-time applications). Usually a client opens a TCP connection posts a request, gets some responses, and closes the TCP connection.  Web browsers, in their simplest mode of operation, would just connect to download a page and then disconnect. This simple transactions use very little resources. The resources are free after each transaction. But connecting and disconnecting repeatedly to the same server does carry an overhead and slows the communication down.

To allow close to real-time information exchange over TCP requires to keep the connection open all time. This has the drawback that the server needs to reserve resources for each client - independent if there is little or high traffic. For that reason IEDs in power systems (often with very limited resources) have a limited number of clients that can communicate with them at the same time. Once resources are consumed, there is no interoperation with one additional client possible at all.

This kind of limited resources in automation devices makes interoperability a challenge. If two devices do not operate: please do not start to blame it to the standard or to the implementation ... A system integrator needs to know many details on limitations. Be aware: Everything is limited!

The discussed challenge is independent of the upper layer protocols like DNP3, IEC 60870-5, IEC 60870-6, IEC 61850, ... it is typical for all protocols in the automation domain that use TCP.

Click HERE for the complete FERC Smart Grid Policy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Webservices for IEC 61850 or IEC 61850 LE (Lite Edition) are here

From time to time there is a discussion on the protocol stack for IEC 61850 - which is based on TCP/IP, upper OSI layers and MMS (ISO 9506). Some people today are looking for a lite edition that may use DNP3, IEC 60870-5-10x, or even Webservices.

Is there a need to define these protocol stacks during the years to come? NO!! The Standard IEC 61400-25-4 defines these stacks (published 12 months ago, 2008-08). No, I am not kidding. The Standard has been published by IEC TC 88 (Wind Turbines):

Wind turbines – IEC 61400-25-4: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants – Mapping to communication profile

Click HERE for the preview of the standard.

The stacks specified in this part of IEC 61400-25 comprise:

  • 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.

All mappings are optional, but at least one optional mapping shall be selected in order to be compliant with this part of IEC 61400-25.

The stacks in IEC 61400-25-4 are covering all or parts of the abstract services in IEC 61400-25-3 (IEC 61850-7-2, ACSI) - excerpt of the list of mappings and services supported:


Example of a service for the Webservice stack (excerpt):


The mapping of services to DNP3 is depicted for one example (excerpt):


The mapping of Common Data Classes to DNP3 is depicted for one example (excerpt):


So: Why waiting for an IEC 61850 LE or for IEC 61850 Webservices - Here they are: IEC 61400-25-4.

If there is a need to revise or improve the stacks, visit the Tissue Data Base for IEC 61400-25.

You are experienced with IEC 61850? - Looking for a new job in the U.S.?

The Public Service Company of New Mexico (USA) is looking for an engineer with experiences in IEC 61850.

The job description asks for: "... Provide direction to improve the reliability of subtransmission and transmission electrical facilities, and design of electrical substation automation under IEC 61850. ... and experience working with large consulting firms in the power industry and large industrial users, and must also have experience with or have researched IEC 61850 substation automation.

Click HERE for the full text of the job description.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

COPALP supports IEC 61850

The French company COPALP (focused on IEC 61131-3 based provide software tools and components for embedded systems) has integrated the Standard IEC 61850 into their architecture.

According to COPALP: "The Energy and Water industries require more and more complex protocols and control applications to meet the growing demands for more information, more often. ... The IEC 61850 is one new component to the COPALP offer that comes in addition to the existing one like IEC60870-101 slave, IEC60870-104 server and DNP3 slave protocols."

Click HERE for their full news release.

The next step after IEC 61131-3 will be IEC 61499 (Function Blocks) with IEC 61850 information exchange.

NIST reports progress in transforming the power grid into a Smart Grid

The other day George W. Arnold (National Coordinator For Smart Grid Interoperability) reported to the House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment United States House of Representatives on the progress in transforming the U.S. power grid into a Smart Grid.

Mr. Arnold reported that "Modernizing and digitizing the nation’s electrical power grid—the largest interconnected machine on Earth—is an enormous challenge and a tremendous opportunity. Success requires a combination of quick action and sustained progress in implementing and integrating the components, systems, and networks that will make up the Smart Grid. ... it is important that we base our standards, wherever possible, on international standards or work to get our approaches adopted as international standards. This will maximize the opportunities for U.S. suppliers to address a large, global market opportunity. Fortunately, we are well-connected to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), IEEE and other international organizations and are pursuing those connections vigorously in our effort. ... it is essential that we base the Smart Grid on open standards."

Click HERE for the full (10 page) Testimony.

NettedAutomation GmbH (Karlsruhe/Germany) believes that the Net(works) will automate the future power generation, transmission, distribution and power consumption: The Net is the Automation. 

The driving force behind the standardization is to effectively and efficiently perform seamless device data integration and sharing information based on a rich, fine-grained data-stream about the state of the “power world” in any given instant. Every node in the network would have to be awake, responsive, flexible, and – most important – interconnected with everything else: A distributed energy web.
(from "Seamless Communication with IEC 61850 for Distributed Power Generation" by Karlheinz Schwarz, SCC, Karlsruhe, Germany)

Click HERE for a copy of the full paper on Seamless Communication with IEC 61850 for Distributed Power Generation presented at the 2002 DistribuTech in Miami (FL).

Monday, August 10, 2009

New version of the CIMTool for IEC 61968/70 CIM available

The CIMTool is an open source tool supporting the IEC TC 57 Common Information Model (CIM) standards (IEC 61968 and IEC 61970) used in the electric power industry.

The latest CIMTool release 1.6.1. is available for download. CIMTool is a plugin for the eclipse platform.

Click HERE for more information on the new release of the CIMTool.

Click HERE if you need help with the CIM.

IEC opened a website for Smart Grid Standards

IEC (International Electro-technical Commission) has launched a new website supporting "Global Standards for Smart Grids".

The areas of interest are:

  • About Smart Grid
  • Regional Concerns
  • Need for Smart Grid Standards
  • Interoperability and Standards
  • Framework for Standardization
  • IEC Leadership and Expertise
  • Relevant IEC Standards

Click HERE to visit the new site.

The site is intended to provide (step by step) support in building the future smart power delivery infrastructure. Some key standards like IEC 61968, IEC 61970, IEC 61850, ... are already listed. More to come.

Friday, August 7, 2009

2nd IEC 61850 Training Session in Moscow NOW WITH Hands-on Training, 01.-04. September 2009

The second comprehensive training on IEC 61850 in Moscow (Russia) has been extended from three to four days - adding a hands-on training with real IEDs from Areva, Siemens, SEL, GE, ... the event will be held in Moscow (Russia) from 01.-04. September 2009. The the first three days will be conducted by NettedAutomation (Karlsruhe, Germany), the hands-on training will be performed by STRI (Ludvika, Sweden).

Click HERE [pdf in Russian] for program details and registration form.

Click HERE for a brief report on the the first event in March 2009.

I look forward to meeting you soon in Moscow.

Tutorial IEC 61850 während der SPS/IPC/Drives in Nürnberg, 24.11.2009

Unter dem Titel "IEC 61850 - Die universale Norm für die Informations-Integration" wird von Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC) am Dienstag, 24.11.2009, 14:00 - 17:00 Uhr, ein Tutorial durchgeführt; Vortragssprache ist Deutsch.

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. Sie definiert im Wesentlichen:

  • Informationsmodelle (dreiphasiges Stromnetz, Leistungsschalter, Temperaturwerte, …)
  • Services für den Informations-Austausch (Client-Server, Echtzeitkommunikation, …)
  • System-Konfigurationssprache (Anlage, Informationsmodelle, Datenfluss, Geräte, …)

Mittlerweile wird die Normenreihe in Transport- und Verteilnetzen (von der Hochspannung bis zur Niederspannung), in der konventionellen und dezentralen Energieerzeugung sowie für Condition-Monitoring-Systeme eingesetzt. Die bedarfsgerechte und zuverlässige Bereitstellung elektrischer Energie für fertigungs- und verfahrenstechnische Prozesse hat einen zunehmenden Einfluss auf die gesamte Automatisierung. Die durchgängige Informations-Integration von Produktions- und Energieversorgungsprozessen mit IEC 61850 senkt die Kosten der Automatisierung und hilft, Energie effizient zu nutzen!

In dem Beitrag werden die Normenreihen IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 (Erweiterung für Windenergieanlagen), ihre globale Akzeptanz und Einsatzbeispiele vorgestellt.

In acht von 14 Anwendungsbereichen der amerikanischen Smart-Grid-Aktivitäten wird IEC 61850 als Lösung gesehen ... more to come.

Click HIER für weitere Details zum Tutorial in Nürnberg.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Batteries and Electric Vehicles - U.S. Government spends $2.4 Billion in Grants

According to the White House press release (2009-08-05) President Obama "announced 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects that will receive $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects, selected through a highly competitive process by the Department of Energy, will accelerate the development of U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles, helping to establish American leadership in creating the next generation of advanced vehicles."

The award winners will invest another $2.4 Billion.

One of the biggest deployment projects will be implemented by ETEC in cooperation with Nissan. According to ETEC: "The Project will install electric vehicle charging infrastructure and deploy up to 1,000 Nissan battery electric vehicles in strategic markets in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. ... To support the Nissan EV, the Project will install approximately 12,500 Level 2 (220V) charging systems and 250 Level 3 (fast-charge) systems."

Click HERE for the full White House press release.

Click HERE for the ETEC press release.

Priority Action Plans for NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Roadmap

EPRI has provided a list of prioritized actions on the "Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Roadmap" to NIST on July 30, 2009.

The plans cover 14 areas of interest. Excerpt from the Overview:

"On the basis of stakeholder input received at two public workshops as well as its reviews of research reports and other relevant literature, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is proposing a set of priorities for developing standards necessary to build an interoperable Smart Grid. Among the criteria for inclusion on this initial list were immediacy of need, relevance to high-priority Smart Grid functionalities, availability of existing standards to respond to the need, state of the deployment of affected technologies, and estimated time frame to achieve an effective solution.
To facilitate timely and effective responses to these needs, NIST has drafted a preliminary Priority Action Plan (PAP) for each need. The PAPs are intended to scope out problem areas and to begin clarifying the steps required for achieving solutions."

The 14 prioritized areas (text in bold indicates involvement of IEC 61850 for that area):

  1. IP for the Smart Grid
  2. Wireless Communications for the Smart Grid
  3. Common Pricing Model
  4. Common Scheduling Mechanism
  5. Standard Meter Data Profiles
  6. Common Semantic Model for Meter Data Tables
  7. Electric Storage Interconnection Guidelines
  8. CIM for Distribution Grid Management
  9. Standard DR Signals
  10. Standard Energy Usage Information
  11. Common Object Models for Electric Transportation
  12. IEC 61850 Objects/DNP3 Mapping
  13. Time Synchronization, IEC 61850 Objects/IEEE C37.118 Harmonization
  14. Transmission and Distribution Power Systems Model Mapping

Click HERE for the complete action plans.

Monday, August 3, 2009

German E-Energy Projects go International

The seven German E-Energy Projects opened an International website with many useful information in English. "The primary goal of E-Energy is to create E-Energy model regions that demonstrate how the immense potential for optimization presented by information and communication technologies (ICT) can best be harnessed to enhance the efficiency and environmental compatibility of the power supply and to ensure supply security."

Click HERE for the content in English.