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.