Saturday, October 9, 2010

NIST recommends IEC 61850 and other IEC TC 57 Standards for Regulation

The US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recommended the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that five "foundational" sets of IEC TC 57 standards for smart grid interoperability and cyber security should be considered by federal and state energy regulators.

  • IEC 61970 and IEC 61968: Provide a Common Information Model (CIM) necessary for exchanges of data between devices and networks, primarily in the transmission (IEC 61970) and distribution (IEC 61968) domains.
  • IEC 61850: Facilitates substation automation and communication as well as interoperability through a common data format.
  • IEC 60870-6: Facilitates exchanges of information between control centers.
  • IEC 62351: Addresses the cyber security of the communication protocols defined by the preceding IEC standards.

These standards are identified because they are essential to uniform and interoperable communication systems throughout the grid and will accommodate the evolution of the grid and the integration of new technologies. They focus on the information models and protocols important to efficient and reliable grid operations.

This is a big step forward in the use of these standard series! More to come.

The power utility domain all over has decided to use these standards. In 2010 I have seen a lot of interest in the general automation domain (factory and process automation) to check if IEC 61850 could be used to replace the myriads of field busses. IEC 61850 could be used instead of the 30+ Ethernet based field busses - and IEC 61850 has to offer much more than any of these field busses. IEC 60870-6 and IEC 61850 rely on MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification) as the messaging standard developed in the late 80s during the MAP 3.0 project (Manufacturing Automation Protocols). Field busses haven been understood since the 90s to be used instead of MAP 3.0. With IEC 60870-6 and IEC 61850 we see that the basic concepts and solutions of MAP 3.0 are back in operation - first in the power utility domain and soon in factories and other domains.

Click HERE to download the letter from NIST to FERC [pdf]

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