Thursday, July 1, 2010

GE Promotes International Standards like IEC 61850

John D. McDonald (P.E. Director, Technical Strategy and Policy Development Digital Energy GE Energy) - well known in the power industry - reported on the ongoing efforts under NIST SGIP to accelerate the definition and use of (international) Standards for information and communication to make the electric grid smarter.

According to John McDonald, the transformation of "our grid into a more automated, interactive and intuitive power delivery system has began. Crucial to this undertaking are system architecture and standards, the foundation for bringing together the electrical and communications infrastructure and for evolving technology to meet many and disparate needs. System architecture and standards that foster interoperability provide a framework for development, a roadmap for progress and a catalyst for continued industry investment." He is right in stating that "The Smart Grid will be a system of interoperable systems."

He gives an overview of the work of the 16 PAPs and talks about the lack of use of international standards, mainly due to the lack in awareness of the standards like IEC 61850.

Mr. McDonald states also: "In the USA, the transition from DNP 3.0 to IEC 61850 for substation automation and communications is an excellent example of the challenge we have before us. IEC 61850 calls for sending protection messages over Ethernet local area networks (vs. dedicated copper wires) and accessing measurements via a central process bus (vs. wired to the individual relays). These relatively small technology changes, but large process and cultural changes, have resulted in continued performance with substantial savings for those deploying this new technology worldwide. But there is enough concern and resistance to these changes here in the USA that IEC 61850 is not yet widely accepted or deployed."

Some 3 years ago I did a half day seminar on IEC 61850 for a North American utility. Half a year later I asked the engineer that had invited me: "How is IEC 61850 doing in your utility?" He answered: "Hmm, we are still two retirements away". This year he responded to the same question: "We are just one retirement away." What's about the young engineers? Let them learn what they need. Vattenfall (the biggest Scandinavian utility) recommends to utilities and vendors (and of course the system integrators) to do much more education and training on IEC 61850!!

Click HERE for the statement from Vattenfall.

Click HERE for the complete testimony of John McDonald (GE).

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