Thursday, December 29, 2011

How can you feed back your experience with IEC 61850?

The many parts of the standards series IEC 61850 published require some kind of maintenance. In order to collect, discuss, solve, and document the feedback from the market, IEC TC 57 WG 10 has set-up a database: The Technical Issues database or just: the Tissues database.

More and more experts from utilities feed their experience back to the standardization groups. An example is the latest post of today:

Click HERE for the Tissue #810 on the Logical node RFLO.

In case you find any tissue in the published standards search the Tissue database first and post a new tissue if your tissue has not yet been posted.

TUEV-SUED announces IEC 61850 Test Lab and Smart Grid Forum

TÜV-SÜD in Munich accelerates the support of the standard series IEC 61850 in 2012:

  • Test Services
  • Smart Grid Forum (20.-21. März 2012)

TÜV-SÜD will provide a wide range of services to reach a high level of interoperability of IEDs:


Click HERE for more details of the services [English, PDF]
Click HERE for more details of the services [German, PDF]

The Smart Grid Forum (Munich, 20.-21. März 2012) will be conducted in German). Topics are:

  • Normen und Standards für Smart Grids
  • IEC 61850 in der Anwendung
  • Smarte Daten: Normen und Richtlinien für den sicheren Datenaustausch
  • Verteilnetzautomatisierung durch intelligente Netzkomponenten: aktuelle Projektbeispiele von Netzbetreibern und Industriekunden
  • IT-Sicherheit und Datenschutz im intelligenten Netzsystem

Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MMS (ISO 9506) Introduction – Why to focus on the API?

Jan Tore Sørensen and Martin Gilje Jaatun (SINTEF ICT, Trondheim, Norway) have published a nice introduction to the basic architecture and definitions of MMS in a 46 page document – easy to read and understand.

This documents demonstrates that MMS is not complex. IEC 61850-8-1 (and IEC 61850-9-2) use MMS for specifying the message exchange between IEC 61850 servers (publishers) and clients (subscribers).

Implementing IEC 61850 compliant systems comprising SCL tools, servers, clients, publishers, and subscribers means to implement:

  1. Upper layers on top of TCP/IP (or on Ethertype for publisher/subscriber)
  2. Protocol machine (MMS, GOOSE and SV)
  3. Encoding/Decoding ASN.1 BER messages
  4. ACSI services (LD, LN, Control Blocks (reporting, Logging, service tracking, GOOSE, and SV), DataSets, Control, LOG –> mapped to protocols, mainly MMS)
  5. Object model (dictionary in IED and behavior according to IEC 61850-7-4)
  6. API (application program interface) for server, client, publisher, and subscriber
  7. IED configuration using SCL file
  8. SCL tool for system engineering and IED configuration

A ballpark estimate of the efforts needed to implement a reasonable subset of IEC 61850 (if one develops the software from scratch) is in the range of some 10 man-years. Only a small part of efforts (likely less than 10 per cent) deals with MMS and the underlying protocols required by MMS.

A different solution for the client-server messaging, e.g., by using a webservice, would have a minor impact on the total efforts. From a application point of view an efficient API should be in the focus when implementing of using IEC 61850!

Click HERE for the complete paper on MMS [pdf, 446 KB]

Note that IEC 61850 is much more than a protocol – and much more than MMS. MMS is just an international standard like Ethernet or TCP/IP.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Siemens and IEC 61850: More than 200,000 IEC 61850 IEDs installed

According to Siemens they are “the world market leader in digital protection technology … from the experience out of an installed base of more than 1 million
devices and 200,000 with IEC 61850”.

Often people ask, why are the many fieldbus users groups (for CAN, PROFINET, POWERLINK, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, SERCOS III, Foundation Fieldbus, ControlNet, DeviceNet, …) more active than the UCA International Usersgroup (representing IEC 61850)? One reason seems to be this: most of the 50+ fieldbus solutions are competing with each other. It is no surprise that each users group tries to promote the benefits and the success of their solution.

IEC 61850 does not seem to have (serious) competitors – so it is not required to do a lot of marketing by a users group.

Click HERE for a brochure from Siemens on their relays (Relay Selection Guide, pdf).

Example of a new part of IEC 61850 – Edition 1 or Edition 2?

The Technical Report IEC/TR 61850-90-1 (Substation to Substation Communication) has been published in March 2010 – quite new part of IEC 61850:


Is this document part of IEC 61850 Edition 1 or IEC 61850 Edition 2? Neither nor!

It just is IEC/TR 61850-90-1 Edition1 – Edition 1 of part 90-1; NOT a part of IEC 61850 Edition 1. There was never an official Edition 1 of the SERIES IEC 61850 nor will there be an Edition 2 of the whole SERIES.

Vendors are often making statements like “Full compatibility between IEC 61850 Editions 1 and 2” or “Efficient operating concepts by flexible engineering of
IEC 61850 Edition 2” … What does that mean? Hm, it seems to be a marketing expression, or?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NEW: Embedded Linux Gateway supporting IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25

SSV Embedded Systems (Hannover, Germany) offers the embedded Linux gateway module DIL/NetPC DNP/9265 now with a preinstalled IEC 61850 (IEC 61400-25)protocol stack. An easy to configure and use IEC 61850 API (application program interface) allows for a very short time-to-market development – within days and weeks. Program your application, model the IEC 61850 logical nodes and data object that expose your application data, bind them together, configure the communication services like data sets and control blocks (reporting and GOOSE) – and you can connect with other IEC 61850 devices. The model, the binding, and the communication services are described in a standard SCL file (System Configuration Language, IEC 61850-6) and uploaded to the module. Restart the module and you are done. It’s that easy.

The ARM9-based DNP/9265 is equipped with 32MB of SDRAM, as well as 32MB of NOR flash for holding the boot-loader and Linux O/S, says the company. I/O is passed through a 40-pin DIL socket, and includes three UARTs for COM functions, as well as 20-bit GPIO.

The module supplies one interface each for USB 2.0 Host, SD card, I2C, SPI, and CAN (ISO/11898A 2.0B), says the company. A 10/100Mbps Ethernet port is also supported. Additional features include a watchdog timer, power supervisor for VCC control, and in-system programming features.

Measuring 2.17 x 0.91 inches (55 x 23mm), the module runs on a 3.3 Volt power supply, with supply current at typically 300mA, with a maximum of 500mA. The module is said to support temperatures ranging from 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C).

SSV also offers other DIL/NetPC-based gateway box products for smart grid and virtual power plant applications. These gateways allow to connect distributed generation installations (such as CHPs, wind-turbines, small hydro, back-up gensets etc.) directly via IEC 61850 with any other application like power grid monitoring or control centers.

In addition to Linux and the integrated IEC 61850 the SSV gateway solutions comes with drivers and protocol stacks for SSL- or IPsec-based VPNs (virtual private networks). This allows secure data communication with powerful encryption technologies over the public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet.

Click HERE for the news [in German]
Click HERE for a description of the product [in English]
Click HERE to check the IEC 61850 (IEC 61400-25) API online [in English]

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reminder – Introduction to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 on ARM and LINUX on December 14

The introduction to the standard series and the new Embedded Modules developed by TQ with IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 (using ARM Architectures, Linux and the very simple and powerful SystemCorp IEC61850 API) is less than three weeks ahead (in Wessling/Munich, 2011-12-14).

Click HERE for the event and information on the embedded controllers (in German).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Easy Smart Metering and IEC 61850 MUC (Multi Utility Communication)

Solvimus (Ilmenau, Germany) offers an Easy Smart Metering and IEC 61850 MUC (Multi Utility Communication) device – combining metering and IEC 61850.

The MUC.easy(TM) supports:

  • M-Bus, wM-Bus, RS-232, RS-485, S0, or CL to connect to meters
  • Integrated Webserver
  • Ethernet
  • DSL
  • Powerline Communciation (PLC), and
  • a powerful embedded IEC 61850 solution

Click HERE for the News in German.
Click HERE for some overview of the MUC with IEC 61850

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Details of NEW Hirschmann RSP and Embedded Switches With IEC-Standard Redundancy and IEEE 1588 disclosed

The recently announced new Ethernet Switches from Hirschmann that support redundancy protocols are now officially disclosed.

With Hirschmann™ RSP Switches, Which Support the New IEC-Standard Redundancy Protocols (PRP, HSR), Networks Can Now be Built for the First Time With Genuinely Uninterrupted Data Communication.

The Advantages at a Glance

  • Extensive range of redundancy methods: PRP, HSR, PRP/HSR Red Box, MRP, Fast MRP, RSTP
  • Precise synchronization compliant with IEEE 1588v2
  • Enhanced security mechanisms: authentication, radius, role based access, port security, SSHv2, HTTPS and SFTP, plus others currently in preparation.
  • Fast device replacement, comprehensive logging and storage of all configuration data, plus operating software updates via SD card
  • High level of vibration resistance
  • Broad immunity to electrostatic discharges and magnetic fields
  • Temperature range from -40°C to +70°C
  • Power supply 24/36/48 V DC or 60/120/250 V DC and 110/230 V AC
  • Strong and compact metal housing

Click HERE for the technical Brochure [pdf, English]
Click HERE for the technical Brochure [pdf, Deutsch]

The New Embedded Ethernet EES20 and EES25 Switches from Hirschmann™ Combine the Functional Scope of a Powerful Managed Switch With Interruption-free Redundancy Protocols and Precise Synchronization.

  • This module allows automation equipment to be extended to include state-of-the-art switch technology with very little effort
  • The additional network functionality gives the equipment sustained competitive
  • Development process and time-to-market are significantly shortened thanks to
    Embedded Ethernet

Click HERE for the technical Brochure [pdf, Englich]
Click HERE for the technical Bochure [pdf, Deutsch]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Aging Workforce in the Electric Power domain

The Electric Power Utility domain is looking for many electrical power engineers all over. One example can be found by searching the

Click HERE for a search on power system engineer

The search results in 38,329 hits for the U.S. allone !!
Some 6.000 hits are related to protection, 800 to SCADA, and 55 to IEC 61850, 12 to DNP3.

Click HERE for a search on electrical engineer

The search results in 86,596 hits for the U.S.
72 are related to IEC 61850 and 20 to DNP3.

Power systems require skilled and experienced engineers. How to become an experiences and skilled engineer? By education, training, learning-by-doing, …

During the year 2011 a lot more electric power engineers and IT experts have received one or the other education and training with regard to IEC 61850.

I see a lot more of interest on the radar screen for 2012.

Have you ever thought about to get a training that build up your skills in the application of IEC 61850 and related standards? Note that in many of the open positions you can read something like: experience in relevant protocols and interfaces (IEC 61850, IEC 60870-x, DNP, etc.).

Many people still expect that IEC 61850 is a protocol. It is definitely much more than a protocol.

Click HERE to see some differences.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

IEC 61850 soon for Steam and Gas turbines

A New Work Item has been proposed by Sweden to use IEC 61850 for Steam and Gas Turbines (Document 57/1193/NP). IEC 61850-7-410 defines already extensions of the Information models for applications in Hydro Power Plants.

The draft second edition of IEC 61850-7-410 has been extended to cover power system stabilizer (PSS) functions, as well as complex excitation systems. In order to use the IEC 61850 communication system for thermal power plants, additional data models for e.g. steam turbines with ancillary equipment is required. In a further future work, additional models for boilers, burner management, flue gas cleaning could be added.

The ballot of the NP closes 2012-02-17.

If you are interested in getting involved contact your IEC TC 57 National Committee.

Click HERE for the list of countries involved in IEC TC 57.

Integration of Renewables in the Grid – A Huge Challenge

Sometimes some experts expect that IT is one of the most crucial aspects of the future power delivery system – yes it is important … to some extent.

The Power System is STILL (and forever) an ELECTRICAL SYSTEM! Mark O’Malley writes in the 2011-11/12 issue of the IEEE Power & Energy magazine that the “Grid integration is, in his view, the most interesting and exciting area of research in the world today.” … and tomorrow and for the next decade at least.

After many years of low investments in the power industry (material, equipment, systems, human resources, …) it is expected that it will grow now. Some companies have already increased their budgets for education in Energy and IT related issues.

Click HERE for the complete opinion of Mark O’Malley.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

IEC 61850 Editions – Help to Prevent Confusions

After my recent Newsletter on IEC 61850 many experts visited the blog post of the first discussion on Editions which summarizes:

BUT there will be not an EDITION 2 of the standard SERIES IEC 61850 per se!! Various parts (of the first 16 parts) will be revised and extended and then published tagged as EDITION 2.

New parts will be published with the tag EDITION 1, e.g., IEC 61850-80-1 (Guideline to exchanging information from a CDC-based data model using IEC 60870-5-101 or IEC 60870-5-104) - IEC/TS 61850-80-1, Edition 1.0, 2008-12

Click HERE for the complete post.

There are a lot of confusions when people talk about Editions of IEC 61850.

In a new paper it is reported: “Edition 2.0 of IEC 61850 Standard has been released considering valid technical issues and future aspects of protocol usage. … compares the IEC 61850 Edition 2.0 specification to its predecessor Edition 1.0.”

Click HERE for that paper.

There is hope that experts will use more precise language when it comes to editions of the many parts of IEC 61850 and related documents.

In addition to the question of the Edition of the standard there is another question, when it comes to the Devices that implement IEC 61850: Does this or that Device conform to IEC 61850 Edition 1 or Edition 2?

Since there is NO EDITION 2 of the STANDARD, a Device could NOT be characterized as an IEC 61850 Edition 2 Device!!

We have to differentiate the various aspects of the Standard: Which Logical Nodes, Common Data Classes, Services, which subset of the Configuration Language Edition 2, et cetera are implemented.

Edition 2 of any part of IEC 61850 can mean the following:

  1. (Usually: Most) Definitions of parts tagged Edition 1 have been taken over in the same parts tagged Edition 2 without any change.
  2. (Some) Definitions of parts tagged Edition 1 have been taken over in parts tagged Edition 2 with fixes or minor changes. During the tissue process the parts tagged Edition 1 have already been “fixed” to some extend.
  3. (Less or more) New Definitions have been added in parts tagged Edition 2. [Service tracking in IEC 61850-7-2, many new LNs in IEC 61850-7-4, …]
  4. (Some) Definitions of parts tagged Edition 1 have been moved to parts tagged Edition 2 without changes. [e.g., LN STMP from IEC 61850-7-410 Ed1 to IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2; Substitution has been moved from IEC 61850-7-2 Ed1 to IEC 61850-7-3 Ed2, …] 

A Device A that implements those definitions from several parts tagged Edition 1 that have not changed in Edition 2 of these parts is compliant to edition 2 of these parts without any modifications! If a Device B implements some new features of one or more parts tagged Edition 2, then these new features have to be listed in some detail to understand the situation. Some detail means that the implemented features per part tagged Edition 1 and/or Edition 2 have to be listed.


  1. A Device may just implement a new LN from Edition 2 of part IEC 61850-7-2; the other definitions are used as defined in Edition 1 of the other parts like IEC 61850-7-3, 7-2, 8-1, … So, is this an Edition 1 or Edition 2 Device? Both! But we better do NOT TAG a Device being Edition 1 or Edition 2. It’s a Device implementing the services according to the PICS of part IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 1 (the subset used may be unchanged in Edition 2), IEC 61850-8-1 Edition 1, … and the STMP LN of IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 2.).
  2. The same Device could be understood as implementing the STMP LN according to a part that is tagged Edition1: The STMP LN is still officially published in IEC 61850-7-410 Edition 1. Edition 2 of 7-410 will not have the STMP LN any more – it is already moved to 7-4 Edition 2.

Users should not wait until a Device or the Communication Stack is compliant to Edition 2 of the Standard IEC 61850!! You will never get such a Device because there is NO Edition 2 of IEC 61850. You may want to use one or the other new service of IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2 (like Service tracking of control block services) or a new LN from IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2 or from IEC 61850-7-420 Edition 1 or IEC 61850-90-7 Edition 1 …

Always list some details what has been implemented from the various parts tagged Edition 1 or Edition 2 – if you want to prevent confusion. 

Additional discussions on this topic will follow – time permitted.

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seminário e Treinamento NORMA IEC 61850 - Instituto Instronic

Dear expert in Brazil and other countries, please note the final call for the IEC 61850 course in Sao Paulo (Brazil):

NOTE the course will be simultaneously translated into Portuguese.


Maria Rita do Amaral
Instituto -Instronic
Instronic Instrumentos de Testes Ltda
Tel.: (11) 3383.3700 - Ramal 159

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Distribution Company Vector’s Ten-Years Plan for IEC 61850

Vector Limited is the electric power distribution company in the Auckland (New Zealand) area. The company publishes every year an Asset Management Plan (AMP) – informing the public and others what the company is planning to do with their assets. The current plan covers a ten year planning period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2021.

One goal of the current AMP is to demonstrate innovation and efficiency improvements. What does this mean related to IEC 61850? A lot in the past and in the future:

  • Vector’s substation automation system is based on resilient optical
    Ethernet local area network running IEC 61850 compliant IEDs.
  • Vector’s current standard for internal and external communication systems is IEC 61850 standard. DNP3 is also used as an interim solution.
  • At present over 50% of Vector’s primary substation are equipped with IEC 61850 compliant IEDs.
  • Vector has been running an annual RTU replacement programme for a number of years, and is currently replacing approximately 10 RTUs per region per annum. To replace conventional RTUs, two approved solutions have been used, traditional RTUs with a migration path to IEC 61850, and fully compliant IEC 61850 solutions.

Click HERE for the current plan (2011-2021) [PDF, 10 MB]

Thursday, November 3, 2011

IEC 61850 and IEC 61499 in Action at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Nov 22-24, 2011

If you want to see IEC 61850 and IEC 61499 in action at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg (Germany), Nov 22-24, 2011, visit the ISaGRAF booth please:

Hall 7A / booth 502

Click HERE for a free ticket to visit the SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition [German].
Click HERE for a free ticket to visit the SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition [English].

There is also a special presentation on IEC 61499 on 23rd of November, 2011:

Click HERE for more information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Use-Cases for Distributed Photovoltaic and Storage Systems

EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, USA) has been active in the research and development of the electrical power delivery systems. Just remember the projects UCA 1.0 (Utility Communication Architecture) and UCA 2.0. Both projects have contributed to the IEC TC 57 (Power System Management) and influenced several crucial standard series like the CIM, IEC 60870-6 TASE.2 and IEC 61850.

The work on the “Utility Communication Architecture” is going on in various IEC TC 57 projects and EPRI is still contributing to this process (especially to the definition of IEC 6185-90-7 - Object models for photovoltaic, storage, and other DER inverters). A very interesting EPRI report looks into the “Uses for Distributed Photovoltaic and Storage Systems”. The report lists and discusses briefly the following use-cases:

  • Energy Generation
  • Local Energy Storage to Compensate for Photovoltaic Intermittency
  • Use of Energy Storage for Arbitrage Benefit
  • Use of Local Energy Storage to Maximize Photovoltaic Generation Value
  • Energy Storage for Customer or Community Backup Power
  • Energy Storage to Reduce or Limit Peak Loading on the Utility System
  • Energy Storage for Load Following
  • Energy Storage to Reduce Customer Peak Demand
  • Energy Storage for Local Power Quality Control
  • System Stabilization – Transient Watt Modulation with Line Frequency
  • System Stabilization - Transient Watt Modulation with Line Voltage
  • Var Production for Voltage Regulation
  • Var Production for Voltage Stabilization
  • Var Production for Power Factor Management
  • Var Compensation for Intermittent Generation
  • Connect/Disconnect from Grid – Non Islanding
  • Connect/Disconnect from Grid – Islanding
  • On/Off Control of PV and/or Storage Inverter
  • Adjusting Maximum Generation Level
  • Metering Energy from Photovoltaic or Storage Device
  • State Monitoring
  • Event Reporting by Exception
  • Event Logging

Click HERE for the 44 page report on use cases.
Click HERE for an overview about IEC 61850-90-7.

In an up-to-date publication of the German VDI nachrichten it is reported about storage possibilities on 2011-10-28 that:

  • The capacity of all German pumped-storage hydropower plants would provide power for 1 hour.
  • The capacity of 42 million German cars would last for 24 hours.
  • The capacity of the German oil and gas storages would last at least for 2 months.
  • The storage of “Wind or PV Power” (Converting Electricity to Natural Gas) is also an option.

Click HERE for an R&D report on Converting Electricity to Natural Gas.

Whatever the energy Mix will be – there is a crucial need for information and communication systems supporting the future power delivery system!

The good news is that there is no need to develop standards for information and communication systems from scratch! There are sufficient standards available, implemented and tested so that the power industry can straight use them: IEC 60870-6 TASE.2, CIM, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, …

Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Visit” a U.S. Power Grid Control Center

The New York Times provides some information about the work in Control Centers of the U.S. Power Grid … quite interesting information.

Click HERE for the article.

If you want to apply for a job managing the North American power grid, you have to answer communication related questions like this (from NERC):

6. Standard COM-001-1, encourages “redundant and diversely routed” telecommunications facilities. Why "would “diversely routed” facilities be encouraged?

  1. So communications can be simultaneously sent and received over the redundant paths.
  2. So as not to create a monopoly for one particular telecommunication service.
  3. So more neighboring systems can tie into the telecommunications network
  4. So one specific problem could not eliminate redundant facilities

If you would answer with 2. … you may … hmmm … ;-)

Click HERE for this and more questions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SGIP calls for Comments on Draft NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0

The NIST SGIP (Smart Grid Interoperability Panel) has published the

Draft NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 2.0

for public comments via Federal Register Notice on October 25, 2011

Click HERE for the NIST Framework and Comments page.
Click HERE for the Draft Release 2.0 [PDF, 5.3 MB].

What is new in the Release 2.0 (Draft)?

Interoperable standards and protocols for the Smart(er) Grids are the focus of NIST. To reach these objectives NIST developed a three-phase plan:

  1. To accelerate the identification of an initial set of standards;
  2. To establish a robust Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) to sustain the development of the many additional standards that will be needed; and
  3. To set up a conformity testing and certification infrastructure.

The results of Release 1 (2009-11) have been improved in the draft Release 2. The most crucial result so far (in my view) is the fact that the relevant standards listed in Release 1 has been accepted – one way or the other – by the stake holders in the Smart(er) Grid community! There are some additional standards listed – but the list from 2009 is still representing the core standards.

The most crucial result of all these activities in the power utility domain is that we have prevented a situation found in the industrial automation market with more than 100 Fieldbus standards – with some 50+ in a single standard (IEC 61158)!

Draft Release 2 identifies 20 Smart Grid-relevant standards, 15 other requirement and guideline documents, 9 cyber security documents; and another list of some 60 specifications/requirements that are listed for further review. The 20 standards are:

1 BACnet Building Automation
2 ANSI C12 Metering
3 LON Various applications
4 IEEE 1815 (DNP3) Substation and feeder automation
5 ICCP (IEC 60870-6 TASE.2) Inter-control center communication
6 IEC 61850 Power utility automation (Transmission, Distribution, Generation, …) at field level
7 IEC 61968/61970 CIM; communication between control center systems
8 IEEE C37.118/IEC 61850-90-5 Phasor measurements
9 IEEE 1547 Physical and electrical interconnections between utilities and distributed generation (DG) and storage.
10 IEEE 1588/IEC61588 Time synchronization
11 IETF RFC 6272 Internet Protocols
12 IEEE 1901 Broadband Power Line
13 Multispeak Application software integration within the utility operations domain
14 NEMA SG AMI I Smart meters
15 SB WEQ19, REQ18 Energy Usage Information
16 NISTIR 7761 NIST Guidelines for Assessing Wireless Standards for Smart Grid Applications
17 OpenADR Open Automated Demand Response
18 OPC-UA Exposes complex data and metadata defined by other information model specifications (e.g. IEC 61850, BACnet, OpenADR).
19 GML Open Geospatial Consortium, Geography Markup Language
20 Zigbee Smart Energy Profile 2.0 Home Area Network (HAN) Device Communications and Information Model
  Requirements and Guidelines  
21 OpenHAN Home area network (HAN)
22 AEIC Guidelines Testing criteria for standards-based AMI
23 SAE J1772 SAE Electric Vehicle and Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler
24 SAE J2836/1 Use Cases for Communication Between Plug-in Vehicles and the Utility Grid
25 IPRM SGTCC Interoperability Process Reference Manual (SGIP‘s Smart Grid Testing and Certification Committee)
26 --  
  Cyber Security  
27 Security Profile for Advanced Metering Infrastructure, v 1.0  
28 Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cyber Security Recommendations

DHS Cyber Security
Procurement Language for Control Systems

Guidance to procuring Cyber security technologies for control systems products and services
30 IEC 62351 Parts 1-8 This family of standards defines information security for power system control operations.
31 IEEE 1686 Intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) to accommodate critical infrastructure protection
32 CIP 002-009 NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection
33 NIST Special Publication (SP) 800 Cyber security standards and guidelines for federal information systems, including those for the bulk power system.
34 IEC 61851 Charging electric road vehicles


Introduction to NISTIR 7628
Guidelines for
Smart Grid Cyber Security

The second list comprises standards for review like GPS, IEC 61400-25 (IEC 61850 for wind turbines), IEEE P1901 (Broadband powerline), ISO/IEC 8824 ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation), IEEE 802, 3GPP, 2G, 3G, 4G, ISA SP 100 (Wireless), IEC 61000, ISA SP 99, ISO 27000, WS-Security, …

The second list contains standards that do (to my interpretation) NOT contain any competing solutions for IEC 61968/70, IEC 61850, IEEE 1815 DNP3, … they cover other crucial aspects. And there is very little overlap between the 35 standards listed above.

Congratulation to all people involved in the work of SGIP!

It would be very helpful to provide your comments to the draft – in order to reach a global consensus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Embedded Modules from TQ with IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 using ARM Architectures and Linux

Two New Embedded Modules developed by TQ with IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 (using ARM Architectures, Linux and the very simple and powerful SystemCorp IEC61850 API) are available:

ARM9 Modul with i.MX28 from Freescale
Click HERE for more details.

ARM11 Modul with i.MX35 from Freescale
Click HERE for more details.

TQ is conducting a one day introduction into the standards IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 and demonstrates how to build applications for IEC 61850 based on the above controllers.

Date: 2011-12-14 (Wednesday)

TQ-Systems GmbH
Mühlstraße 2
82229 Seefeld
Germany (near Munich)

Click HERE for more details on the seminar.

Click HERE for the Program (Presentation Language: German)

If you are interested in a presentation in English, please contact TQ.

NEW Hirschmann Ethernet Switches for Substations and other Critical Applications

Hirschmann is (to my knowledge) the leading manufacturers of Ethernet Switches for mission critical industrial applications. Hirschmann is also quite active in the domain of substations (IEC 61850, …). The following new products offer standardized features like RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol), PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) and HSR (High-availability Seamless Redundancy).

With these components there is sufficient timeliness guaranteed in mission critical substation protection and automation systems. This is far above the old “yellow cable” Ethernet of the 80s and 90s.

Hirschmann™ presents switches from its new RSP family Redundancy with zero switchover time:
Click HERE for further information (English)
Click HERE for further information (German)

Hirschmann™ once again demonstrates its market leadership in Industrial
Ethernet Hirschmann™ switches support seamless redundancy. The new PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) and HSR (High-availability Seamless
protocols are two newly developed redundancy methods that significantly increase the availability and reliability of network connections:
Click HERE for further information (English)
Click HERE for further information (German)

Hirschmann™ markets new Embedded Ethernet components Module with the functional scope of a standalone switch:
Click HERE for further information (English)

White Paper on Media Redundancy Concepts - High Availability in Industrial Ethernet:
Click HERE for further information (English)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cleanup of IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 2

The edition 2 of the base information models of IEC 61850 (published in 2010 as IEC 61850-7-4) has some definitions that need corrections. You can find the most crucial ones documented on the IEC 61850 Tissue Database (Technical Issues).

Click HERE for the complete list of part 7-4 Ed2.


Annex A defines the Interpretation of mode and behaviour

There is an obvious error in the table. When Beh=on AND incoming data with q=test THEN the expected behaviour of LN shall be “Processed as invalid”, and not “Processed as valid”.

Recommendation for readers of the various parts of IEC 61850: Please check the list of the Tissue Database in order to figure out the corrections made by the IEC 61850 community. As the above example shows, the corrections could be very critical!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need Help regarding MMS (ISO 9506)?

Experts that are looking for further helpful information on MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification – ISO 9506) can download a report published as part of MSc Thesis "Security in Industrial Networks" in Norway, 2007:

Click HERE for the links to two papers.

Unfortunately the authors did not mention IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 as the most crucial standard series that use MMS.

The security measures for MMS are defined in IEC 62351-4.

Click HERE for additional information on security and IEC 61850/MMS.

Click HERE for find more information on MMS.

Improvements of IEC 61850-6 (System Configuration Language) and other parts

The IEC 61850 System Configuration Language (SCL) as defined in IEC 61850-6 Edition 2 is a very crucial, successful and comprehensive part of the standard series IEC 61850. This part has a major impact of System Design, System Engineering and Device Configuration Tools.

The standard defines many concepts and a lot of details! People in the SCL Team and other groups have worked hard to provide a consistent and complete specification. As usual, there are typos, incompletely defined details, … The IEC 61850 community takes these inconsistencies and errors very serious.

Since the publication in 2009 there have 21 tissues (technical issues) been reported on part 6:

Click HERE for the list of the IEC 61850-6 Edition 2 tissues.

One typical tissue (Tissue 719) is about the “maxAttributes” definition in clause 9.3.1:

The definition of ConfDataSet - maxAttributes is confusing especially the part in brackets (an FCDA can contain several attributes).
2 interpretations seem possible :
- maxAttributes = max nb of members in the dataset
- maxAttributes = max sum of attributes of all dataset member

The tissue has helped to clarify what is meant: “ConfDataSet.maxAttributes shall define the maximum number of members in a data set …”

Click HERE for the complete tissue 719.

Please check the tissue database if you find anything in the published standards (of any Edition) that may be wrong or not complete or unclear. Before you post a tissue check if it has already been reported and solved.

Click HERE for the Tissue Database entry on IEC 61850 and HERE for IEC 61400-25.

You can help the IEC 61850 community to improve the standard by checking the content of the tissue data bases and posting your findings on possible deficiencies.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Power Outage in San Diego on September 08, 2011, and Synchrophasors

The other day I reported on standards for synchrophasor measurements. The question was and still is: Could synchrophasor measurements prevent huge black outs? Some say yes – others say maybe or no.

Today it has been reported by Platts (Atlanta) that “The installation of phasor measurement units on part of the power grid affected by the September 8 power outage in Arizona, California and Mexico is aiding the data collection process as entities look into the cause of the outage, the head of the North American Electric Reliability Council said Monday. … Synchrophasors provide precise measurements of critical grid operating data from devices called phasor measurement units, which inform operators of conditions on a real-time basis. The goal of having the units in place is to help operators see conditions deteriorate and take actions to avoid large outages, Paul Barber of the NERC board of trustees said Tuesday.”

Obviously the synchrophasor measurements could not prevent the power outage on September 8, 2011. There needs to be experts to interpret the values!! and understand what to do to stabilize the electric system … or software needs to be written by experts …

What is missing in many organizations to keep control over the electric power delivery system? Peopleware!! Well educated Experts that understand the electrical system !! Measurements are a tool: Even a fool with a tool is a fool. And: A fool with a tool can foul-up a system much faster than a fool without a tool. In this regard, IEC 61850 is also just a tool.

Click HERE for the complete report from today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

IEC 61400-25 at the Two-Day Windpower Monthly Forum in Hamburg

Anders Johnsson, Marketing & Standardization Coordinator of USE61400-25 User Group, will give a presentation under the title "How close are we to standardization of wind turbine data?”

at the Wind Farm Data Management & Analysis - Harnessing your data to optimize performance, reduce downtime & increase profitability, a Two-Day Windpower Monthly Forum 15- 16 November 2011, Hamburg, Germany.

He will present the results of the standardization work done so far and provide an outlook.

Click HERE for more details.

Click HERE for a brief introduction to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 [pdf].

New Book on CIM (Common Information Model)

IEC TC 57 (Power System Management) publishes standards for control center internal information models (CIM: IEC 61968 and IEC 61970) and for monitoring and controlling the process level (IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25).

Four experts involved in the application of CIM in projects have written a book on CIM to provide an introduction and describe the basic use cases. The book will be available in January 2012.

Click HERE for a description of the book and order information.

Click HERE for a brief introduction to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sensors in Smart(er) Grids Not Only For Electrical Measurement

Smart Grid (condition monitoring) Sensors may detect faulting fuses, insulators, conductors, transformers, as well as fires, ice, water level, floods, oil spills & air pollution conditions and and …

Myriads of sensors will be installed in the context of Smart(er) Grids the years to come.

Click HERE for a 10 minute video on various use cases.
Click HERE for a roll-out of sensors in a distribution network. 
Click HERE on a discussion “How many protocol interfaces can we afford?"
Click HERE for a project where IEC 61850 is used for exchanging sensor data.

With IEC 61850 – one ne or the other – it is possible to let all sensors speak a SINGLE LANGUAGE. Intelligent sensors may speak IEC 61850 integrated in the sensor itself, or the sensors may communicate to an aggregation device (like an RTU) that provides IEC 61850 connectivity to the next level of monitoring and so on.

Click HERE for the IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2 Logical Node STMP (Temperature Supervision).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Open Source Synchrophasor Framework for IEC 61850-90-5 under development

On October 02, 2011, I announced that the IEC TR 61850-90-5: “Use of IEC 61850 to transmit synchrophasor information according to IEEE C37.118” is on its way for official publication; expected by end of 2011.

To accelerate the application of the technology defined by IEC 61850-90-5, Cisco, Inc. (CSCO) and Systems Integration Specialists Company, Inc. (SISCO) have begun an open source project intended to provide an implementation framework for synchronized phasor measurement communications.

They expect that an “open source project will foster innovation and faster adoption of the standards using IP-multicast and a scalable security architecture´. … For the open source project, Cisco will provide source code for the Group Domain of Interpretation (GDOI) protocol. This protocol provides the type of advanced cyber key management services that are needed to secure communications for power system automation applications, including substation automation and protection, as well as for Smart Grid applications such as metering and demand response. SISCO will provide the source code for the IEC 61850-90-5 communication profile and the integration of that profile with the GDOI code. …”

Click HERE for the press complete release published by Cisco.

It is very likely that this project will push the application of IEC 61850 in North America and all over.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IEC 61850 Training Courses in Sao Paulo and Frankfurt

Plan now for attending one of the training courses conducted by NettedAutomation:

Why should you attend? IEC 61850 is a bit more than DNP3, IEC 60870-5-101/104 or any of the many field busses … IEC 61850 is THE solution when it comes to advanced information, information exchange and system configuration in the electric power delivery world and in many domains outside. Understanding the basics of IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 will help you to get smoothly to systems that are based on interoperable devices.

Sao Paulo (Brazil), 21.-23. November 2011 (NEW DATE)
3 day IEC 61850 Seminar/Hands-on Training

Frankfurt (Germany), 09.-11. May 2012
Frankfurt (Germany), 17.-19. October 2012
3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with with several embedded Controller Development Kits (Linux, RTOS, ...), Starter Kit (Windows DDL), and several other demo software

?? (USA), Remote Conference, September 2012
2 day Seminar (NettedAutomation) on Power System Communication covering IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, DNP3, NIST Interoperability Roadmap, Smart Grids, ...

Plug and Play for IEC 61850 – Supported by Siemens

Siemens pushes for a crucial extension of IEC 61850: to allow Plug and Play features for IEDs according to a future IEC 61850:

IEC 61850’s primary focus (in the late 90’s) was on Substation Automation – this is still the crucial application domain today and for a long time. The application of IEC 61850 in various power generation and distribution application domains is likely to require further features – not yet defined. Several projects (E-Energy in Germany, SGIP’ Priority Action Plan (PAP), and other) have investigated in finding gaps in the standard definitions. One result is the definition of a Plug&Play extension developed by Siemens. Siemens has registered their ideas at the website. What does that mean? “Defensive publishing is a low cost way to prevent competitors from obtaining patents and protect your freedom to practice.”

Click HERE for a description what “Defensive Publishing” means.


“The Plug and Play reference architecture based on well-known protocols like UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and DPWS (Devices Profiles for Web Services) is used. Several exchanges and additions, e.g. with respect to discovery mechanisms, are proposed enabling IEC 61850 to support Plug & Play for "Smart Distribution".”

Click HERE for more information.

The work on Web Services that has been proposed by a New Work Item Proposal will become a crucial work for future applications.

Substation Automation Specialist Wanted in the U.S. – IEC 61850 is a MUST

Siemens offers an open position for a Product Management Specialist for Substation Automation. One of the position requirements is “Must have worked with advanced digital Substation Automation using IEC 61850 protocol and functionalities”

Click HERE for the description.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long-Term Supply Agreement on Ethernet Components between Hirschmann and Yokogawa Electric Corporation

“Yokogawa will use Hirschmann Industrial Ethernet switches [Neckartenzlingen, Germany] in their Vnet/IP® high-speed control networks and provide maintenance services to facilitate the deployment of highly reliable control networks. Plant control communication network in markets such as oil & gas, power transmission & distribution, pharmaceuticals and water/wastewater must endure harsh environments with extreme ambient temperatures and corrosive gasses.”

Hirschmann is also deeply involved in IEC 61850 standardization and application. More to come …

Click HERE for the news report from Belden.

Utility Experience with IEC 61850 at eThekwini Electricity

There are just a few reports from utility personnel describing the impact of IEC 61850 on substation protection and automation systems. A report from eThekwini Electricity provides some results of the application of IEC 61850 based systems. Worth to read report.

With regard to the Financial Implications the reports states:

“An exercise has been carried out to determine the financial impact
of the new philosophy. This exercise has produced some better
than expected results.”

Click HERE for the complete paper [7 pages pdf].

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wireshark Analyzer to encode MMS, GOOSE, and SAV Messages

In July 2011 I reported about a problem analyzing MMS messages with Wireshark.

A comment to that post suggests the following successful solution … configure the analyzer as follows:

Set in PRES protocol preferences new user context item:

Context Id: 3
Syntax Name OID: 1.0.9506.2.1

Select Edit and Preferences at the bottom:


Select Protocols … and PRES:


Edit PRES and select New and enter the values from above::


Thanks for the recommendation!

Have a great week.

Market Trend: IEC 61850-9-2 Sampled Values accepted

Omicron has published a paper on the benefits and acceptance of the IEC 61850-9-2 sampled values:

  • English (Page 47-49)
  • Deutsch (Page 43-45)
  • By Dr Fred Steinhauser:
    Technology of the future: Sampled Values provide many benefits for the power systems of tomorrow

    Abstracts: “IEC 61850 defines several kinds of communication mechanisms. The Client/Server communication for SCADA and the GOOSE protocol for peer-to-peer status messaging have been widely adopted in a quite short time. Now, after years of experience with these new protocols, also the application of Sampled Values has become a common topic.”

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    New Work Item Proposal on IEC 61850-8-2 – Mapping to Web Services

    As expected, the New Work Item Proposal on Web Service Mapping has been officially published on 2011-10-07 for ballot:

    Future IEC 61850-8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Mappings to web-services (Document 57/1181/NP).

    Closing Date of ballot: 2012-01-13

    In order to get a copy of the NP document contact your TC 57 national committee.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    IEC 61850-90-5 defines How to Use IEC 61850 to transmit synchrophasor information according to IEEE C37.118

    The new Technical Report IEC TR 61850-90-5: “Use of IEC 61850 to transmit synchrophasor information according to IEEE C37.118” is on its way for official publication.

    Synchrophasor information are measured and calculated by PMUs (Phasor Measurement Units) are used to assess the condition of the electrical power delivery system. The synchrophasors and related message formats transmit synchrophasor information over long distances. The payload is defined in IEEE C37.118.

    IEC 61850-90-5 will provide a way of exchanging synchrophasor information between PMUs and WAMPAC (Wide Area Monitoring, Protection, and Control), and for and between control center applications.

    IEC 61850-90-5 also provides communication profile extensions to allow to route GOOSE and sampled value messages (IEC 61850-8-1 and IEC 61850-9-2) using UDP/IP. These routable messages can be utilized to transport any IEC 61850 information as well as synchrophasor information.

    Applications comprise:

    • Synchro-check
    • Adaptive relaying
    • Out-of-step (OOS) protection
    • Situational awareness
    • State Estimation and on-line security assessment
    • Archive data (event & continuous)
    • Special Protection Schemes
    • Predictive Dynamic Stability Maintaining System
    • Under Voltage Load Shedding

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Major German RTU Vendor implements IEC 61850 instead of phased-out model IEC 60870-5-101 and 104

    The IDS company based in Ettlingen (Germany) offers a gateway to collect data from many underlying protocols and converts them into IEC 61850 Models for the communication with control centers. They wrote in a recent publication that the classical RTU protocols IEC 60870-5-101 and –104 are phase-out solutions for the communication with control centers. One crucial issue they highlight is the semantic information models and self-description services defined in IEC 61850.

    The same company was a very strong supporter for using IEC 60870-5-101 and –104 for the communication with control centers – and partly within substations. What I see these days: More and more people are changing their mind!

    The protocol gateway (which is a server) uses for the uplink to the control center IEC 61850 information objects and web services according to IEC 61400-25-4 Annex A for the protocol. This combination (IEC 61850 models and IEC 61400-25-4 mappings) is technically feasible. Formally it is not defined in any standard!

    That is why the gateway (server) cannot interoperate with any IEC 61850 client. It is a product that can communicate with a client according to IEC 61400-25-4 Annex A only.

    The first reason they provided why they did not use MMS is as follows: MMS would require to have permanent TCP and MMS connections maintained! That is true for substation automation, where short reaction times for crucial spontaneous event reports are required. If the required reaction is in the seconds, there is no reason why a permanent connection should be required! MMS does not require permanent connections! A MMS client can close the connection as soon as a service is completed.

    Click HERE for the paper published in the etz magazine [German only].

    It is also important to know that (to my knowledge) most vendors implementing IEC 61400-25 are using the mapping according to IEC 61400-25-4 Annex C (MMS, IEC 61850-8-1): Bachmann, Beckhoff, Ingeteam, Siemens, …

    Finally: a new work item has been proposed to IEC TC 57 (home of IEC 61850) to standardize a web service mapping as IEC 61850-8-2. The question is now: Which solution should be chosen or developed? Three candidates are already discussed and proposed for further investigation:

    1. DPWS (Device Profile Web Services)
    2. OPC UA WS
    3. IEC 61400-25-4 Annex A (as a starting point)

    Nobody knows which solution will finally be standardized for IEC 61850 and how long it will take. There may be additional candidates proposed during the official ballot on the new work item once it is out for ballot … may be by end of 2011. Hopefully we will see a single solution being published in 8-2. Nobody knows.

    Having multiple standards for the mappings means: split the market in non-interoperability domains!

    Click HERE for a further a discussion on web services.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Final Call for IEC 61850 (61400-25) Seminar and Hands-On Training in Frankfurt, October 05-07

    The 3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training with real IEDs (embedded controller programmable in C/C++ and IEC 61131-3) and free evaluation software (DLL etc. fully functional - free to take home) is scheduled to be held in Frankfurt (Germany) from 05.-07. October 2011.

    There are a few seats available. You can even register the latest by Tuesday evening (Oct 04) … I can print another set of hand-outs before I leave to Frankfurt … ;-)

    Click HERE for details. Questions on the attendance fee etc? Contact us.

    I have conducted some 140 courses and educated more than 2,650 experts all over. The experience I collected throughout these events – will be given to you – in case you attend next week. One of the attendees of last week’s event in Nashville (TN, USA) wrote me today:

    “I really did enjoy the workshop and did get lots of information both from the material and your expertise. I feel I have a better understanding of 61850- which was my goal. Thank you.”

    See you next week.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Two Are Better Than One – An Old Wisdom

    King Salomon wrote some 3,000 years ago about redundancy:

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. …. and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

    It would be very helpful in the future electric power delivery system if a higher degree of redundancy would be implemented! There is still a lot … but it is degrading in many places all over.

    The major power outage in the San Diego region two weeks ago caused a failure in “a portion of the “north loop” of San Diego County’s Regional
    Communications System (RCS) experienced a major failure when the county-wide power outage hit on September 8, 2011. This was the second major outage for the redundant 800 MHz RCS that was designed to carry public safety communications without the need for a backup system. …”

    Accountants may say: The backup costs a lot of money … ;-)


    Click HERE to read the full report.

    I have seen communication “boxes” for wind turbines that offer three communication channels … just in case! TCP/IP over Ethernet, GPRS, and Satellite. That should work highly reliable and offer a high availabilty.

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Modeling Logics with IEC 61850-90-11

    IEC TC 57 has started to work officially on models for Logics:

    IEC TR 61850-90-11: Communication networks and systems for power utility
    automation – Part 90-11: Methodologies for modeling of logics for IEC 61850 based applications

    The national committees of TC 57 are requested to contribute to the new part of the standard series IEC 61850.

    Standards like IEC 61131-3, IEC 61499 and others will be taken into account.

    If you are interested in this work, contact your TC 57 National Committee or myself.

    A discussion of the use of IEC 61499 in conjunction with IEC 61850 can be found HERE (Towards Intelligent Smart Grid Devices with IEC 61850 Interoperability and IEC 61499 Open Control Architecture)

    Or check these.

    Power Outage in the South-West – Controlling Huge Power Systems is a Challenge

    A huge interconnected power system follows 100 per cent the rules of laws like the Kirchhoff's Law and others. The Physics of the electrical system does not care about share-holder value, regulation and de-regulation – it is a law that can’t be changed by lawyers and bank managers!

    The electrical power in every homes outlet is understood as a given – as sun shine and rain!! It is just here.

    Two weeks after the power outage in the South-Western, it is likely that missing communication at the level of humans had a big impact on the stability of the power system.

    Click HERE for some more details.

    Click HERE for a discussion if the regulation or the de-regulation of the power market had a huge impact on the power outage.

    Whatever people’s interpretation is: the electrical system is an electrical system that cannot be cheated.

    I’m wondering why the control systems involved in providing a stable power system in the South-West seemed to not have all crucial information about the power system exchanged between all technical systems (parties) involved. There is a standard available for many years that would allow to exchange all real-time information needed to control the power system: IEC 60870-6 TASE.2 (ICCP).

    There is one lesson we have to learn: The information systems could also not change the Kirchoff’s and other laws. The electrical system is an electrical system for the last 100+ years and for the future …

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Some more Details on the September 8 Power Outage in San Diego

    Some more details on the causes that let to the big Power Outage in California, Arizona and Mexico on September 8, 2011 have been published.

    The SignOnSanDiego reports on Sept 16: “ … the Cal-ISO chief said, investigators so far have identified 23 separate events that occurred during the 11-minute span, each of which played a role in denying electricity to San Diego County and beyond.” 23 is a lot!

    Click HERE for the complete report.

    Whatever caused the power outage: There will be something to learn and to change … and I guess there will be a growing need to exchange more real-time or near real-time information between humans, systems and devices. Standards will help to implement new measures.

    Please let me know as soon as you have more details.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    IEC 61850 knowledge required for many new Jobs all over

    Nine positions in Germany are open for engineers [today: 2011-09-15] with IEC 61850 (and partly with DNP) background according to the website Simplyhired!

    Click HERE for the list of positions in Germany.

    And in North America? The website links to 107 open positions within North America [today: 2011-09-15] !!! Yes!

    Click HERE for the list in the USA.

    11 new positions have been added the last 7 days [today: 2011-09-15]:

    Click HERE for the list of that last 7 days.

    Good luck if you are looking for a job where you can use your IEC 61850 experience and knowledge.

    IEC 61850 and DNP3 applications are picking up!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Southern California Edison’s Vision for Tomorrow’s Smart Electric Grid – Invest in yourself

    In the IEEE power & energy magazine, issue of September/October 2011, you can find very interesting and important statements on the future electric power grid. The current issue provides several papers on power distribution systems. One remarkable paper is “Good Vibrations” (p 22-32) from Robert J. Yinger and Ardalan E. Kamiab (both with Southern California Edison, Westminster, California).

    They state at the very beginning that “A smart grid involves adding to
    the grid millions of smart electronic devices like phasor measurement
    units, fault indicators, meters, and electric vehicle chargers that will send and receive millions of pieces of data per minute to produce actionable information and using that information to enhance the operations and control of the electric system.”

    New hardware and software needs to be developed, installed and used – by engineers and programmers that may still be students at a high school. And what about the senior technicians? Are they “open” for “open” systems?

    Whatever the mix of renewable power will be – one thing is sure: the future power delivery system needs a lot more information systems for the millions of smart electric devices!! Standards help to keep the cost quite low – by preventing the proliferation of the myriads of vendor specific solutions.

    Be aware that standards are just tools – in the hands of people: young and senior experts, and newbies.

    For Southern California Edison’s vision standards like IEC 61850 and DNP3 are quite crucial. In order to really benefit from the standards, “one of the challenges facing the utility industry over the next few years is training the necessary workforce for planning, building, operating, and maintaining the smart grid. A large number of new technologies are being applied to the smart grid, including new equipment, state-of-the-art communications technologies, and advanced control capabilities … that can help the entire utility industry prepare the workforce of the future to implement the smart grid … The workforce needs to be trained so that all of these new technologies can be implemented smoothly … Planning for these advanced smart grid systems needs to be done now …”

    There is a chance next week (in Nashville, TN, 20-21 September, 2011) to get prepared for the new standards IEC 61850 and DNP3:

    Click HERE for the program and further details of event next week.

    Invest in becoming a valued power automation professional!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Huge Power Outage in South-West of U.S.A – started in Substation?

    The South-West of the U.S.A. was hit by a major power outage (some 5 million people had no power) that was likely being caused by some event in a substation yesterday (Thursday, 2011-09-08). Reports say that it is likely that an employee removing a piece of monitoring equipment has caused a massive power outage. Investigations are underway.

    What does this mean for standards like IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25, DNP3, CIM, … ? It means a lot for people that deal with the power system! Why? Because we have to understand that the power delivery system is a huge and complex POWER system!!! Power engineers and electrical engineers are very crucial to the availability of the power 24 hours and 7 days a week! All the smart(er) grid and substation automation activities and solutions based on information models and communication standards are secondary (even they are becoming more important in the future).

    When I conducted the workshop on IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 in Shanghai (China) last Monday, I highly recommended to the 110 young engineers and students that they should closely team up with the experienced senior power and electrical engineers that have run the power grid so far!

    Information Technology WILL (and MUST) SUPPORT the operation of the future power system – BUT it is more important to have enough power and electrical engineers. So, TEAMWORK of all people involved in the power system is VERY CRUCIAL!! And PEOPLEWARE – well experienced and educated engineers.

    Teamwork requires that each person involved has a basic understanding of all the many aspects of the grid, how to operate and maintain it! Electrical engineers need to understand the huge influence that will come through the new standards like IEC 61850, … and IT people need the basics of the power grid!

    If you get more details on the cause of the blackout in San Diego this week, please post it through the comment link to this post. Thanks.

    We all (as a Team) have to learn something out of this big event!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    110 Young People attended the Shanghai IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 Workshop

    The workshop on IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 organized by the State Energy Smart Grid R&D Center (Shanghai) hosted at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Monday, 05 September 2011, was very successful.

    The 110 young attendees from 37 organizations came to the event to get up-to-date information about the standards, market acceptance, challenges with the new standards, experience, and implementation hints.

    One of the students of the workshop and the teacher at the entrance:


    The 110 attendees (mostly young people):


    Professor Peichao Zhang and his colleague Professor Dong Liu organized the event:


    Click HERE for the program of the event.

    According to a report given during the IEC TC 57 Plenary meeting in Shanghai (6.-7. September 2011), one substation per day and one wind power turbine per hour are installed in China. So, there is a huge demand for solutions according to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25.

    The young people are eager to learn how to use the standards for the various products and applications. The workshop has helped them a lot to get the basics of the standard.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Reporting and GOOSE compared

    IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 offers various possibilities for exchanging data values in real-time or near real-time. Whatever your definition of real-time is, here are some hints on the options and some hints on how to use them:

    List of possibilities to exchange data values:


    Comparison of Reporting and GOOSE / Sampled measured values (SMV):


    Note that all message contents are encoded ASN.1 BER – with the exception of the data values in SMV and optionally in GOOSE Edition 2 where the data values are fixed encoded (for optimization!).

    The timeliness of GOOSE and SMV depends on the definition of the standard (e.g., using special messages directly on data link) AND on the IMPLEMENTATION! The bottleneck is usually in the end-nodes and not in the communication.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    PV Power to (de)stabilize the European Power Delivery System?

    One swallow does not make a summer – But 100.000 do. One PV system on a roof in the nineties did not make a smart grid based on renewable resources. But due to the growth of renewable resources like PV the power delivery system changes a lot. Usually today the PV inverters do automatically frequency disconnection.

    ENTSO-E the “European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity” noted in a letter to Commissioner Oettinger of the European Commission that too many “swallows” are flying somehow “uncontrolled” – flying alone … not being aware what’s going on around them … not seeing the system (!):

    “This letter is to brief you on a security of supply issue arising from the automatic frequency disconnection settings of installed photovoltaic (PV) panels in some European countries and to request your support in encouraging the national Regulatory authorities in impacted countries to facilitate the timely implementation of remedial actions.

    Due to the interconnected nature of the transmission system until such remedial actions are implemented the synchronous Central European power system is at increased risk to significant frequency deviations of a magnitude that would generate a widespread loss of supply.

    In several European countries, connection standards applicable to photovoltaic panels and other distributed generation have been or are still specifying that the panels automatically disconnect from the grid whenever the system frequency reaches 0.2 or 0.3 Hz deviations from the required normal value of 50.0 Hz.

    Current information from our Member TSOs, including for example Germany and Italy, indicate that the significant growth in photovoltaics in recent years has resulted in a PV installed capacity (with such settings) approaching 25 000 MW. At these levels there is clearly a risk of an instantaneous generation loss far in excess of the 3000MW generation loss „ride-through‟ design limit for the Continental European system. …”

    Click HERE for the letter from ENTSO-E [English, pdf]

    Ok, what to do now? Act! There are many actions needed to get CONTROL over the system in the future system based on many distributed resources! One aspect is to change limits … but more important is the control of the power resources.

    A group of IEC TC 57 WG 17 is working on a very crucial part of IEC 61850: Draft IEC 61850-90-7 TR – “Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 90-7: IEC 61850 object models for photovoltaic, storage, and other DER inverters” (57/1155/DC).

    Major PV inverter manufacturers and other experts have drafted the above document.

    Crucial aspects covered by 90-7 (in addition to IEC 61850-7-420 – DER) are:

    7. DER management functions for inverters.

    7.1 Immediate control functions for inverters
    7.1.1 Function INV1: connect / disconnect from grid
    7.1.2 Function INV2: adjust maximum generation level up/down
    7.1.3 Function INV3: adjust power factor.
    7.1.4 Function INV4: request real power (charge or discharge storage)
    7.1.5 Function INV5: pricing signal for charge/discharge action

    7.2 Modes for volt-VAr management
    7.2.1 Var management modes using volt/VAr arrays
    7.2.2 Volt-VAr mode VV11: normal energy conservation mode
    7.2.3 Volt-VAr mode VV12: maximum VAr support mode
    7.2.4 Volt-VAr mode VV13: static inverter mode
    7.2.5 Volt-VAr mode VV14: passive mode.

    7.3 Modes for frequency-related behaviours
    7.3.1 Frequency management modes
    7.3.2 Frequency-watt mode FW21: high frequency reduces active power.
    7.3.3 Frequency-watt mode FW22: constraining generating/charging by frequency (see diagram below)

    7.4 Dynamic grid support during abnormally high or low voltage levels
    7.4.1 Dynamic grid support mode TV31: dynamic grid support during abnormally high or low voltage levels
    7.4.2 Example of dynamic grid support capabilities.

    7.5 Functions for “must disconnect” and “must stay connected” zones
    7.5.1 “Must disconnect” MD curve
    7.5.2 “Must stay connected” MSC curve

    7.6 Modes for watt-triggered behaviours
    7.6.1 Watt-power factor mode WP41: feeding power controls power factor

    7.7 Modes for voltage-watt management.
    7.7.1 Voltage-watt mode VW51: voltage-watt management: generating by voltage
    7.7.2 Voltage-watt mode VW52: voltage-watt management: charging by voltage

    7.8 Modes for behaviours triggered by non-power parameters
    7.8.1 Temperature mode TMP
    7.8.2 Pricing signal mode PS

    7.9 Setting and reporting functions
    7.9.1 Establishing settings DS91: modify inverter-based DER settings
    7.9.2 Event logging DS92: log alarms and events, retrieve logs
    7.9.3 Reporting status DS93: selecting status points, establishing reporting mechanisms
    7.9.4 Time synchronization DS94: time synchronization requirements

    Example (without further explanations):

    7.3.3 Frequency-watt mode FW22: constraining generating/charging by frequency:


    It is expected that this part IEC 61850-90-7 is one of the crucial parts of IEC 61850 for the stability of the future power delivery systems all over.

    It’s “PV summer time” – there are millions of PV inverter installed (most of them are not controlled … just “flying” around.

    Please contact your national IEC TC 57 committee to get a copy of the document.

    Click HERE for an interesting ENTSO-E Draft “Requirements for Grid Connection Applicable to all Generators” dated 22 March 2011

    The Power Systems are quite comprehensive … and complex!

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    IEC 61850 for Substations Only?

    The title and scope of IEC 61850 was for many years very restricted:

    2001 – 2009: Communication networks and systems in substations

    2010 – … : Communication networks and systems for power utility automation

    The new title and scope is still too restrictive! The working group wanted to change to “… for automation”. This was not accepted by the IEC Central Office. IEC deals with electro-technical matters. The term “automation” was understood as to broad.

    From a content point of view IEC 61850 could be used all over where measurements and status information needs to be communicated – in any application domain. Even if you are just monitoring a process or system (no control need) you can use IEC 61850 models, messages and configuration tools.

    The Model “STMP” (temperature supervision logical node) can be used wherever a temperature measurement is taken: Temperature of a transformer, of a room, ambient temperature or your body temperature. When the “STMP.Tmp.mag” value reached the configured limit (Alarm limit or Trip limit) an report or a GOOSE message may be issued.

    By the way, IEC 61850 has rules how to define extended logical nodes and data objects. All values can be communicated the Ethernet and TCP/IP based information exchange methods.

    Experts pointing to the scope “substations” are not up-to-date. Those arguing that IEC 61850 is for “power utility automation” only may not like to accept that IEC 61850 is very generic or common – applicable in a wide range of applications.

    The title and scope are just “toner on paper”.

    Progress in Smart Grid Deployment – Too slow?

    Many people all over expect that the Electric Power Delivery system will be changed to become smarter over night. A system that has been build over a period of 20, 50, …. 100+ years cannot be changed in short time! The change is likely to occur in steps over several decades – may be for ever.

    Peter Fox Penner (US consultant) has summarized what is going on in the process of change. He concludes: “… Taken together, the trends discussed here show that the smart grid is expanding and developing, even if the most successful entities and programs are surprising. More importantly, these trends illustrate the evolutionary nature of smart grid development. Arguments that the smart grid is moving too slowly underestimate the scale and complexity of rebuilding our entire grid. Utilities are tasked with deploying a complex series of infrastructure investments that must work in harmony with their current (already smart) systems, use innovative pricing that customers support, and produce a net benefit. Under these conditions, slow and steady wins the race. We can expect smart grid development to occur in stages over decades, ultimately transforming the power industry into a very different business.”

    Click HERE for his report in the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter.

    When we talk about the pace of change in the information technology in industrial automation we should not get nervous when we see the slow progress! How long did it take to get Gigabit/s Ethernet for substation environments developed … and accepted!? New approaches in Automation take often decades before they are accepted and used.

    Click HERE for a brief discussion on Ethernet and Tokenbus … written decades ago.

    The future for standards is quite bright. When a utility decides to deploy information technology for the next 10 or 20 years it will likely chose a stable standard – so that there is no need to change the solution every 4 or 5 years … when manufacturers have developed a new solution.

    MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification, ISO 9506, used in IEC 61850-8-1 to define the message encoding) has been developed in the late eighties (80s !) – some 25 years ago. Web services are understood by some people as an option for messaging – more up-to-date. I have seen a Report message of a simple state change message using IEC 61400-25-2 Web Services the other day. The length of the XML coded Report message was some 850 octets !! A Report message encoded with MMS/ASN.1 BER (as per IEC 61850-8-1) is really shorter: by a factor of about 10 !!

    Don’t hurry. Take your time. Rome hasn’t be built over night!

    I usually sate in my seminars that the deployment of IEC 61850 happens too fast – users often do not have any clue what they got installed. They got it because it was cheaper than xyz. All in a sudden they have several substations with hundreds of IEDs communicating with IEC 61850 – and many (may be almost all) utility engineers have to struggle with this new way to do protection and automation. Many of them have started to get training in IEC 61850 … and you?

    Don’t start slow and slow down fast ;-)

    Just start – there is something to learn!

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Engineer for IT Security in Industrial Automation Wanted (TÜV SÜD)

    Der TÜV SÜD in München sucht einen Ingenieur für IT-Sicherheit (w/m)


    • Erstellung von Prüf- und Testszenarien nach einschlägigen Standards (z.B. IEC 62351, IEC 15408 etc.)
    • IT-Sicherheitsberatung und Audits von Industriesystemen (z.B. Leit- und Steuernetzwerke)
    • Analyse/Auswertung von (industriellen) Kommunikationsprotokollen (z.B. TCP/IP, XML, PROFINET)
    • Durchführung von IT-Sicherheits- und Risikoanalysen
    • Durchführung von IT-Sicherheitstests und Penetrationstests
    • Berichterstellung
    • Mitwirkung bei Fachveranstaltungen (Schulungen, Seminare, Tagungen)

    HIER für weitere Informationen clicken.

    Übrigens: die Norm IEC 62351 wird auch für Geräte nach IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 eingesetzt.