Friday, July 22, 2011

High Level of Interoperability of Devices in the Power Utility Domain

There are no (almost no) competing solutions in reaching interoperability of monitoring, protection and control devices in the various areas of the power delivery domain. There is no need for a (FERC, EU, …) mandate for interoperability standards ... we have already a high level of interoperability and acceptance of standard families like IEC 60870-6 ICCP, IEC 61968/70, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 62351, ... for the process and for the control center level in transmission, distribution, and generation.

Compare it with the international Field Bus standard IEC 61158 – there are little competing international standards for field busses!! YES!! BUT: There are some 60 solutions competing in ONE SINGLE standard: IEC 61158. See:

Have you ever seen such a (non) standard? I have seen it when I took the photo of the stack on my desk in my office in 2008! ;-)

We could be very lucky in the power utility world!!

I am happy to read FERC’s encouragement of “…utilities, smart grid product manufacturers, regulators, and other smart grid stakeholders to actively participate in the NIST interoperability framework process to work on the development of interoperability standards and to refer to that process for guidance on smart grid standards.”

Smart(er) grids need to be build on interoperable standards – Because there is one huge interconnected, interoperable application to be monitored, protected, and controlled: The interconnected power delivery system. The largest machine globally is the European interconnected system. So, interoperability (of the electric power system) is a key objective in the power world.

We need standards for IEDs that are as interoperable as a power generator (or inverter) from Alstom and a transformer from Siemens producing 400/230 V and 50 Hz and a hair dryer from GE that consumes 230 V and 50 Hz.

Electrical Engineers should understand the need of interoperability of IEDs. Just require the same for monitoring, protection and control IEDs.

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