Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cyber Incidents grew in 2012 – High in Energy Sector

“The Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) leads efforts to improve the nation's cyber security posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks to the Nation while protecting the constitutional rights of Americans. US-CERT strives to be a trusted global leader in cyber security—collaborative, agile, and responsive in a dynamic and complex environment.” (Source: US-CERT)

The organization just published a must-read summary document covering various issues from the last three months (October – December 2012). You will find a bunch of very useful information about what has happened and what could happen next. 

One focus of US-CERT is the energy sector: From October 2011 to September 2012 “ICS-CERT received and responded to 198 cyber incidents as reported by asset owners and industry partners. Attacks against the energy sector represented 41 % of the total number of incidents.

The large-scale and fast growing deployment of IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices) in the whole energy sector (including the huge domain of electric power systems) necessitates the development and application of appropriate security measures.

The year 2013 will be a challenging year to keep the power flowing: the aging infrastructure, the need for smart generation, delivery, and use of power requires smart people that will develop smart processes and smart devices. And: All decisions and solutions to keep the power flowing, the sky blue and grass green MUST be accompanied with existing and new security measures!

Security is more than just a buzzword!

I hope that the responsible managers in power systems have increased the budget for increasing security activities for 2013 (and beyond).

Friday, December 28, 2012

IEC 61400-25 is based on IEC 61850

During the year 2012 I have received more often the question about the relation between IEC 61400-25 and IEC 61850.

The most crucial issue in understanding IEC 61400-25 is this: The standard series IEC 61400-25 is based on the series IEC 61850 (mainly part 7-x, 8-1). A lot of definitions and basics defined in IEC 61850 are not repeated in IEC 61400-25. The part 6 (Configuration language) is not referenced in IEC 61400-25 at all and so on.

Could part IEC 61850-6 be used for IEC 61400-25? Yes, it could be used in almost all implementations of IEC 61400-25. Why? Because usually the implementation of the communication uses the mapping to MMS according to IEC 61850-8-1 which is referenced in IEC 61400-25-4.

To really understand IEC 61400-25, one needs to have a very good basic understanding of IEC 61850.

The standard IEC 61850 could be understood as extended IEC 61850 information models. There are a few special definitions in IEC 61400-25-2 which deviate partly from IEC 61850-7-3 and 7-4.

Example: LN WGEN – Generator

That model comprises among other data objects the objects for 3 phase currents and voltages for the stator and for the rotor:


The argument why the electrical measurements are contained in the LN WGEN is simple: The Generator generates voltages and currents … so these measurements are an integral part of the generator! Full stop. In IEC 68150 the modeling approach is to find the smallest parts of information to be exchanged by a function to be modeled.

The electrical measurements in IEC 61850-7-4 are contained in the LN MMXU. To indicate the use for the stator or rotor could be indicated by a prefix in the instance name: Sta_MMXU.A and Rtr_MMXU.A.


Note how the instance names are build (according to IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2):

During the ongoing maintenance work on the first five parts of IEC 61400-25 it could be expected that the information models of IEC 61400-25-2 and IEC 61850-7-x will be harmonized as much as possible.

Note that the models may be different – there may be two model, but there is only one real world. The real world does not change depending on models! On the other side, models should be harmonized to a high degree … to prevent confusion. I have seen models implemented for a wind turbine that use MMXU instead of the models in WTUR.

The key issue is: different people and groups have different understanding of modeling!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Europe: Smart Grid Standards are Here or on the Way

Just before end of 2012 a set of comprehensive documents provided by the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG), being responsible for coordinating the ESOs reply to M/490 (Mandate), have been published.

In 2012, the SG-CG worked intensively to produce the following reports (approved by the CEN and CENELEC Technical Boards in December 2012 - to be approved by ETSI Board early January 2013):

In addition, SG-CG produced a Framework Document which provides an overview of the activities. It describes how the different elements mentioned above fit together as to provide the consistent framework for Smart Grids, as requested by M/490.

The documents are very comprehensive and detailed! It is really surprising what experts have put together in relatively short time!! Congratulation!

Please find two small excerpts form the above listed documents:

The Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) provides some kind of overview about the complexity of the European Power Grid (applicable globally) – the available standards and those that need to be defined are positioned in that model:


The model could be used as a guidline.

The CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid Coordination Group published a “First Set of Standards” … no surprise that IEC 61850 plays a major role today and in the future. Example excerpt:


There are – of course – many other standards listed.

In the coming years there is a need for more simple and secure IEC 61850 based devices that could provide the huge amount of signals from and for the process and field zones for power generation, transmission, distribution, DER and customer premises.

The com.tom components (implementing IEC 60870-5-104, –103, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-35, DNP3, …)  are likely to play a major role.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pay Now Or Later! Life Cycle Cost of Automation System neglected

People responsible for huge automation projects can focus on the cost for installing and commissioning a system OR on the cost for operating and maintaining a system. A reasonable approach would be to figure out what the System Life Cycle Cost are likely.

Yesterday I read in a technical magazine about a very bad example of focusing first on minimum costs for installing and commissioning and neglecting System Life Cycle Cost. In this case the whole automation system is completely refurbished a few years after the system was put in operation. The refurbishment has cost some 15.000.000 Euro. Unbelievable.

The 2 times 34.6 km “Lötschberg Alpine Base Tunnel” (Switzerland) was build between 1999 and 2007. The project’s cost were some Euro. The crucial priority for building the tunnel was meeting the calculated costs and deadlines for opening the tunnel for operation. The project was finished on time and the costs were in the limits set! Perfect! … compared to many huge projects …

But! A running system has to run for years! Very often little efforts are spent to assure that the system remains “clean” and maintainable and expandable even after many years.

In the case of the Lötschberg Tunnel the operation costs were far to high due to the fact that there were very little efforts made during planning and engineering phase to allow a smooth information flow between the many devices and systems. There were many islands of information.

The technical infrastructures had been tendered and realized as separate systems for: Fire protection, Ventilation/ A/C, Lighting control, Escape and evacuation, Cross tube doors, Power supply, Water supply, … Many gateways, protocol inverters, and and had to be installed to let components communicate and share information. The 24*7 operation of the tunnel required personnel on site to run behind alarms: during the first year of operation the many systems produced between 1.000 and 5.000 Alarms per day (!!!). Even after some improvement two experts had to process some 30 alarms per day … causing operating costs (including the people to look after the alarms) of some 4.000.000 Euro per year!

This was far to high!

What to do now? It was decided soon (in 2009) to refurbish the complete automation and SCADA system build mainly by a SINGLE vendor’s solution. Cost for refurbishment: some 15.000.000 Euro. The new system is scheduled to take over the control of the tunnel mid 2013. The operation and maintenance cost are expected be reduced from 4.000.000 Euro to 1.500.000 Euro per year. WOW!

It was reported also that due to the overtime of the service and maintenance personnel many of these people left the company. I guess they were frustrated … or?

Don’t focus on message encoding of one or the other protocol. Always focus on the SYSTEM and Life Cycle Cost.

Missing capabilities to smoothly share information for the some 100.000 signals of the tunnel system have let the costs of operating and maintaining the system sky-rocketed to 4.000.000 Euro per year!

IEC 61850 is intended to provide a smooth and secure information sharing solution – independent of a SINGLE small, medium or big vendor!

Lesson learned: Open (vendor independent) information sharing could have a crucial impact of the Life Cycle Cost.

Do you care about Life Cycle Cost? Yes!? If the answer is Yes, then IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 and DNP3 are recommended options for the future needs of energy system information sharing.

Access a report from the main contractor (vendor) of the refurbished system for the Loetschberg tunnel project [pdf, en].

Another report published in Dec 2012 [pdf, de]

Europe: More on Security for Smart Grids

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has published on Dec 6, 2012 a new report titled:

Appropriate security measures for smart grids
Guidelines to assess the sophistication of security measures implementation

The report provides “guidance to smart grid stakeholders by providing a set of minimum security measures which might help in improving the minimum level of their cyber security services. The proposed security measures are organised into three (3) sophistication levels and ten (10) domains, namely:
1. Security governance & risk management;
2. Management of third parties;
3. Secure lifecycle process for smart grid components/systems and operating procedures;
4. Personnel security, awareness and training;
5. Incident response & information knowledge sharing;
6. Audit and accountability;
7. Continuity of operations;
8. Physical security;
9. Information systems security; and
10. Network security.”

Does any of these documents make any system more secure? No! The security will increase only if smart people implement appropriate measures! There are many documents that suggest needed measures – the text written is sometimes nothing else than toner on paper or pixels on a screen.

What to do? Invest in doing something. Don’t wait until the perfect measures are defined and accepted by every manager! That will never happen. Security is an ongoing process that required permanent improvements of measures.

The report recommends “Organisations wishing to establish, implement, operate, monitor and continuously maintain and improve an appropriate level of smart grid security, must also carefully and continuously consider and assess the actual level of preparedness and the related security risks they face.
A risk assessment should be performed throughout the system life cycle: during requirements definition, procurement, control definition and configuration, system operations, and system close-out.”

Security measures should be taken from the very beginning of planning to use automation and information systems. The big show-stopper is that all these measures cost money and need increased resources (manpower, software and hardware, …). In the domain of DNP3, IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 basic measures are defined in the documents of the series IEC 62351.

Download the complete report [84 pages. pdf]

U-Bahn-Fahrplan Energiewende – Eine gute Übersicht

Energiewende – ein Begriff, der international bekannt ist! Was ist darunter zu verstehen? Sehr viel!! Es geht um Energie – weit über Strom-Erzeugung, –Transport, –Verteilung und –Verbrauch hinaus.

Eine sehr gut zu lesende und sehr leicht verständliche Zusammenfassung auf 16 Seiten sollte jedem Bürger über 15 Jahre als Pflicht-Lektüre empfohlen werden sollte!

Sehr interessant ist der “U-Bahn-Fahrplan”, der alle wesentlichen Aspekte der Energiewende grafisch darstellt:


Hier können Sie die komplette Grafik “Gesamtübersicht Energiewende” herunterladen [jpg, 1,6 MB]

Download der Zusammenfassung [16 Seiten, pdf, 4 MB]

Noch Fragen?

IEC 61850 wird in vielen, zur Realisierung der Energiewende notwendigen Technologien eine große Bedeutung zukommen – Mit Sicherheit!

Bildquelle: IFEU-Institut

Monday, December 17, 2012

IEC 61850 Edition 2 Eases the use of the Standard

Is that really true? Sure it is.

First of all, when I talk about “IEC 61850 Edition 2” in this post I mean the Edition 2 of the core parts like IEC 61850-6, –7-x, and -8-1.

Most of the definitions of these Edition 2 core parts have not been touched! Several “overheads” in the former edition have been removed! There are a few cleaned-up definitions (that had already been solved during the tissue process), and there are several new definitions (mainly in the model documents 7-3 and 7-4). New logical nodes like STMP (Supervision Temperature) have no impact on the other definitions – they are independent new definitions for NEW applications.

Let’s look at examples of the “overhead” of mandatory data objects in each and every logical node in edition 1 of part 7-4:

The common data objects in ALL logical nodes in IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 1 required the following four (4) mandatory objects:

NamPlt   LPL
Mod      ENC
Beh      ENS
Health   ENS

According to IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 2 this has been reduced to one single mandatory (1) data object for all but one LN - LLN0:

Beh      ENS

This could save a lot of memory and processing … we have learned to improve the standard – that is what most people expected! Or?

Most basic definitions in common data classes are still the SAME; a lot of devices (edition 1 or edition 2 based) work smoothly together when we look of basic use cases:

SPS (single point status):
q       Quality
t       TimeStamp

DPS (double point status):
q       Quality
t       TimeStamp

MV (measured values):
mag     AnalogueValue
q       Quality
t       TimeStamp

Now when we compare these basic “signal” types with … we will figure out that there is almost NO real difference! Please check the following mapping from IEC 61850 to DNP3 (according to IEEE P1815.1 Draft Standard for Exchanging Information between networks Implementing IEC 61850 and IEEE Std 1815 (Distributed Network Protocol - DNP3):

Mapping for DPS (double point status):


DBBI = Double-Bit Binary Input
BI    =  Binary Input

Do you think this is a crucial difference?

Some people want to make us belief that IEC 61850 is complex. Check on your own, please. If you need help, let me know.

What is the Scope of IEC 61850?

The title and scope of IEC 61850 has been extended from “substations” to “power utility automation” many years ago. The title of all new parts and Edition 2 of revised parts (e.g., IEC 61850-7-1 Edition 2) is:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation

The scope of IEC 61850 (e.g., as defined in IEC 61850-7-1 Edition 2) has been extended to:

– hydroelectric power plants,
– substation to substation information exchange,
– information exchange for distributed automation,
– substation to control centre information exchange,
– information exchange for metering,
– condition monitoring and diagnosis, and
– information exchange with engineering systems for device configuration.

The written scope of standards can be used to ... but it does not constrain the use.

The scope of IEC 60870-5-104 is defined as follows: This part of IEC 60870 applies to telecontrol equipment and systems with coded bit serial data transmission for monitoring and controlling geographically widespread processes.

Does this preclude to use 104 as substation bus? No, not at all. It is in use in many substations - at least in Germany.

And when it comes to "widespread processes", e.g., PV systems that need to be monitored and controlled, it is natural to use DNP3 or 104, or? ... today ... yes. When it comes to TCP based communication there is a very little (or almost no) difference between one protocol and the other. When you look at the overhead generated by TCP/IP … !

The main issue is: What will it cost to plan, procure, install, rent, configure, ... operate the network infrastructure? The crucial costs are still in the hardware, wires, signal-converters, commissioning, configuration, testing, service, maintenance, and SECURITY measures to be implemented – that’s what I have seen in several "modern" approaches to control a PV system from a DSO. Saving a few minutes in the configuration with one or the other protocol is relatively negligible.

When we talk about cost, let's look at the end-to-end cost and life-cycle cost - not just looking at differences in protocols and scopes of standards.

Have a look at the resources needed to encrypt and decrypt messages at transport protocol layer: The resources for making the transport layer secure requires many more resources than those needed for one protocol message or the other.

Focus on the SYSTEM – which is more than looking at SCADA protocols.

Friday, December 14, 2012

TÜV SÜD conducts One Day Seminar on IEC 61850 in San Diego (CA) on January 28, 2013

TÜV SÜD conducts a One Day Seminar on IEC 61850 Edition 2, Security and Certification in

San Diego (CA)
January 28, 2013 (Monday, the day before the DistribuTech 2013 opens).

What does IEC 61850 Edition 2 mean?
Is the wait for IEC 61850 over?
What is the co-existence of DNP3 (IEC 60870-5-104) and IEC 61850?
What are the security solutions for these standards?
How to ensure that devices are interoperable?

These and many other questions will be discussed during the seminar.

Details and registration can be found here. [early bird rate before January 10]

Note that TÜV SÜD has a booth at DistribuTech [Booth 624], the TÜV SÜD experts will be available during the DistribuTech. Karlheinz Schwarz will be at the UCA International Users Group [Booth 1648].

Contact us, in case you want to meet us. We can set a date and time for a comprehensive discussion in advance.

Stromausfälle und ihre (katastrophalen) Folgen

Strom kommt aus der Steckdose! Oder? Ja – natürlich! Wie kommt er in die Steckdose? Wen interessiert das schon! So ein paar Techniker – die sollten das wissen!

Strom ist nicht so unterhaltsam wie eine Oper oder ein Konzert! Wirklich? Allerdings! Nur - Strom unterhält uns doch alle: Ohne Strom keine Er- und Unterhaltung! In jeglicher Hinsicht. Was passiert, wenn bei der Aufführung einer Oper das Licht ausgeht, die Aufzüge und Rolltreppen stehen bleiben, die Lüftungs- und Klimaanlagen ausfallen, die Handynetze ihren Geist aufgeben, … und die Tankstellen keinen Kraftstoff mehr verkaufen können … laut einer Studie gibt es in Berlin ganze zwei Tankstellen mit einer Notstromversorgung!

In meiner Kindheit habe ich meine Mutter erlebt, als sie gerade beim Waschen war, fiel der Strom aus; sie sagte mir, dann kann ich ja in der Zeit (mit dem elektrischen Bügeleisen) bügeln! Während ihrer Kindheit hätte das wahrscheinlich funktioniert.

Was bei einem Blackout geschieht - Folgen eines langandauernden und großräumigen Stromausfalls. Unter diesem Titel wurde 2011 eine umfangreiche und interessante Studie veröffentlicht.

Zusammenfassung der Studie [3 Seiten, pdf]

Komplette Studie des Büros für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag [251 Seiten, pdf]

Anmerkungen von einem mir bekannten pensionierten Experten, der die Herausforderungen der Energieversorgung von Berufswegen sehr gut kennt:

Die Studie umfasst 261 Seiten. Allein die Zusammenfassung ist 31 Seiten lang. Der Text von Prof. Popp verdichtet dies auf 3 Seiten. Im Februar dieses Jahres war im gesamten europäischen Stromnetz nur noch eine Reserve von ca. 1000 MW verfügbar. Der Ausfall eines einzigen Kernkraftwerkblockes (z. B. ein Block in Philippsburg) hätte zum Totalausfall des gesamten Stromnetzes geführt. So knapp war es noch nie. Aber weil „wieder“ nichts passiert ist, wird diese Extremsituation von der Bevölkerung schlicht nicht wahrgenommen. Unser Umgang mit dieser so wichtigen Infrastruktur wie der Stromversorgung kann nur noch als total unverantwortlich bezeichnet werden.

Da die Kommunikationsmöglichkeiten bei einem totalen Stromausfall sehr rasch wegbrechen (selbst Notausgaben von Zeitungen entfallen, denn wie sollen Journalisten an verlässliche Informationen kommen, wie sollen Notausgaben hergestellt und wie verteilt werden), erreichen Informationen über die Folgen eines längeren Stromausfalles nur noch gerüchteweise und eher lokal die Bevölkerung. Diese kann den tatsächlichen Umfang an Beeinträchtigungen bis hin zu eingetretenen Schäden oder gar zu beklagenden Opfern höchstens erahnen. Eine Wiederherstellung einer dann wieder nutzbaren Infrastruktur ist bisher nicht überlegt, auch nicht geübt. Wie soll das dann funktionieren? Was wären die Folgen?

Wir haben und pflegen die Meinung, dass wir ein technisch hochstehendes Land sind. Mir wird schummrig. Der Vorfall kürzlich in München müsste doch einigen die Augen geöffnet haben. Der lange Ausfall in New York noch viel mehr. Aber wir "spielen" weiterhin mit unserer so wichtigen Infrastruktur und meinen, "der Markt" sorgt dafür (mit Geldbewegungen?!), dass das Gleichgewicht zwischen Erzeugung und Nutzung ständig eingehalten ist. Was ein Irrtum. Mich bringt die Ignoranz noch zum Wahnsinn (oder um).

Sein Fazit: Wann werden die notwendigen Schlussfolgerungen gezogen und tatsächlich konsequent umgesetzt?

Was fällt uns – neben dem Aufbringen von Markierungen für Fahrradwege in Innenstädten – noch alles ein, um die Energieversorgung nachhaltig zu sichern? Es reicht nicht aus, keine Ideen zu haben, man muss auch unfähig sein sie umzusetzen!

Heute ist dafür alles „smart“ (was übrigens auch „gerissen“ bedeutet). Wir sollten uns wieder auf das besinnen, was bisher zu der eigentlich unglaublich hohen Verlässlichkeit der elektrischen Stromversorgung geführt hat: Der Sachverstand, die Vernunft und die gekonnte Beachtung physikalischer Gesetzmäßigkeiten – nicht das Geld und nicht der Markt.

Intelligente und sichere elektrische Energieversorgungsnetze wurden bereits
zu Beginn der Elektrifizierung erfunden und bis heute weiterentwickelt.
Elektrische Sicherungen, Schutz- und Überwachungseinrichtungen sind seit
über 100 Jahren phänomenale Geräte zum Schutz von Leben und technischen
Einrichtungen. Ohne diese „smarten“ Geräte wäre ein fehlerfreies und
ausfallsicheres elektrisches Energieversorgungssystem undenkbar und die
Versorgung mit elektrischer Energie viel zu gefährlich. Siehe auch:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where is the sun shining?

If you want to figure out where in Germany the sun is shining, you have several possibilities: check with a weather related website or check the PV power production.

Today (2012-12-06 10:28) the PV Power was 1.1 GW … the sun was shining in the south-western part – where Karlsruhe (my home town) is:


Up-to-date  and historical PV power performance provided by SMA.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Two new Papers on IEC 61850 Sampled Value Exchange Models

Several well known experts from Australia (David M.E. Ingram, Pascal Schaub, Richard R. Taylor, and Duncan Campbell) have spent some time on analyzing the applicability of IEC 61850 Sampled Value exchange methods and IEEE 1588 time synchronization for high voltage substations. Read what they have figured out:

The first paper focuses on “Performance analysis of IEC 61850 sampled value process bus networks”:

Process bus networks are the next stage in the evolution of substation design, bringing digital technology to the high voltage switchyard. Benefits of process buses include facilitating the use of Non-Conventional Instrument Transformers, improved disturbance recording and phasor measurement and the removal of costly, and potentially hazardous, copper cabling from substation switchyards and control rooms. This paper examines the role a process bus plays in an IEC 61850 based Substation Automation System.

More details and download link.

The second paper is on: “Performance analysis of PTP components for IEC 61850 process bus applications

New substation automation applications, such as sampled value process buses and synchrophasors, require sampling accuracy of 1 µs or better. The Precision Time Protocol (PTP), IEEE Std 1588, achieves this level of performance and integrates well into Ethernet based substation networks. This paper takes a systematic approach to the performance evaluation of commercially available PTP devices (grandmaster, slave, transparent and boundary clocks) from a variety of manufacturers.

More details and download link.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

IEC 61850 – Is Interoperability of Devices reached?

Increased and Sustainable Interoperability of intelligent devices in the power delivery domain is one of the crucial objectives of IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 (Wind Power). Interoperability is reached to a quite high degree – sure, there are a few examples where we see some challenges to improve one or the other technical problem!
My personal experience is that there is still some room for improvements – in the standard series IEC61850 and IEC 61400-25 and in the implementations and use of various vendors’ devices. One reason that causes headaches is linked to the many options in the standards. Vendors very often interpret the mandatory (m) and optional (o) designation as m=minimum, o=oops there is something we can ignore. Users often expect that they can decide to use mandatory and optional definitions – they expect that vendors have to implement almost all options.
There is – of course – a huge lack of understanding what and how to implement IEC 61850 and how to use standard compliant devices; and to figure out what goes wrong. Education of vendors and users is one of the most highly recommended actions to improve interoperability!
The other day I was called to help solving a six months’ discussion between two vendors of IEC 61850 compliant products, a third vendor using their devices, the project management and the user.
It took me (with a helmet and security jacket and security shoes) less than a day on the site (a medium voltage substation in a new coal fired 920 MW power plant) to figure out the reason of a non-interoperable behavior of the power plant control system (IEC 61850 client) that had a problem with one device type. The control system wants to set the TrgOps (trigger options) of the report control blocks in all devices. It sends a SetURCBValues service with the value [x111 11xx]. All but one devices accept this value (even they do not support one of the 5 bits that can be set to 1). One device supports only three out of the five [x100 11xx] – setting 3rd and 4th Bit true is not accepted and causes a negative SetURCBValues message (according to the definition in IEC 61850-7-2).
This minor issue causes a big trouble because the client (power plant control system) cannot set the General Interrogation to true – and cannot use it !!
I expect that this non-conformity will be fixed soon. It is not a big issue – but it caused six months trouble and created a lot of frustrations!
If the right expertise would get involved in such discussions at an early stage it is likely that many of the non-conformities would be solved very soon. Comprehensive education is required when it comes to IEC 61850 – the earlier the better. Be aware: IEC 61850 is not just another protocol.
Some complaints about the many options in the standard series are discussed in a paper published the other day.
“… the world needs — there is a user group already associated with IEC 61850 — is some type of organization that will work through 61850, come up with a subset that eliminates all the options and drive that down to the vendors and say, "here, do this."
This is a great approach. The main reason this has not yet been done is mainly the absence of users in the many discussions in the standardization working groups and the UCAIUG (UCA international users group), and in other discussions – and the lack in education of the users community.
Some pressure from the utilities on the vendors community to fix the relatively few known non-conformities in existing devices and tools would help to get rid of a lot of frustrations and to reach a higher level of interoperability. Many users are – not yet – in a position to figure out which device is conformant and which is not! A lot of these issues are independent of the question optional or mandatory and could easily be solved.
Recommendation #1:
People implementing and using the standard need (more) education.
Recommendation #2:
See recommendation #1.
Some discussion on Education.
Read statement of Vattenfall on Education for IEC 61850 [2007!!]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beck IPC mit IEC 60870-5-104 und IEC 61850 auf der SPS/IPC/Drives in Nürnberg

Wenn Ihnen die Themen E-Mobility, Smart Metering und Smart Grid via IEC 61850 und IEC 60870-5-104 sowie M2M Kommunikation schon einmal begegnet sind, dann sollten Sie sich unbedingt die Beck com.tom Produkte ansehen:

we bring the Industry to Internet

Sie finden Beck IPC auf der SPS/IPC/Drives in Nürnberg:
vom 27. - 29. November
in Halle 9, Stand 341

Ein kostenloses Gastticket steht unter folgendem Link als Download zur Verfügung:

Urgently Needed: A Dumber, Tougher Grid

A “request” published by the famous IEEE Spectrum today (2012-11-21) asks for a

Dumber and Tougher Electric Grid !!


“Since the hurricane and “nor’easter” that devastated the New Jersey and New York coasts two weeks ago, leaving millions without heat, gasoline and electricity, there has been a lot of loose talk about how a smarter grid might moderate the effects of such catastrophes in the future.

The smart grid will indeed have a role to play—especially in speeding recovery. As Massoud Amin of the University of Minnesota recently put it, “a more resilient, secure and smarter infrastructure…would localize impacts and enable a speedier restoration of the services.

However, what we need even more urgently than a more agile and interactive grid incorporating advanced computing and communications in all dimensions is a grid that’s basically old-fashioned, stupid and really, really tough. … brittle wooden electricity poles would be replaced with stronger steel poles, or the distribution lines …”

My personal experience is that many “dump” people have not allowed many “smart(er)” people to exactly to do that: replace xx by yy … very often they were not allowed to do so! To make the system more robust is known form more than 130 years!!

Read paper on “Smart Grids – A 19th century invention”

“Since the 19th century engineers have developed, tested, used on a large-scale and continuously improved suitable solutions for the safe and reliable operation of the rapidly growing supply of ever more applications with electrical energy. During the sustained further development of the supply systems, it is necessary to handle the available resources (energy sources, technical installations and individuals with experience) as well as the laws of physics both responsibly and in a "smart" manner.”

The rallying cry should be: to do this (replacement of poles and “dump” people, … ) and not stop doing the other (implementing smart(er) equipment and smarter ways to deal with energy and especially electric power).

While I am writing these lines I listen to a radio report telling that part of the city Karlsruhe (my home town) is in dark: a huge blackout … electricians are on their way to check substations what has caused the outage … they recommended to have a flash lighter at hand – just in case … one of two transformers tripped … they are working on the other to take over …

News on Karlsruhe blackout (German only).

More to come … I mean more outages to come … have a flash light in all rooms … in your car …

Smart(er) Grids in Denmark – supported by IEC 61850

Denmark says, that it is a world leader when it comes to developing tomorrow's green, flexible and intelligent power system - a power system where the generation, transport and consumption of power is linked intelligently.

The power system will become the backbone of the energy system of tomorrow, featuring completely new electricity-generation sources and new types of electricity consumption - a power system characterized by flexible generation and a high level of renewables.

IEC 61850 and IEC 61970 (CIM) are part of tomorrows Danish energy system.

Download comprehensive Brochure “Smart Grid in Denmark 2.0”:



Internationally, two standards for Smart Grids are singled out in particular, each including a number of part-standards and related standards. One is the IEC 61850 standard, which was originally developed for substations but which has today been developed to cover a wide range of other areas, e.g. DER units. The information model in IEC 61850 is based on the so-called Logical Nodes, whereby information can be structured in a harmonized way. The other standard is the IEC 61970 standard, which was originally developed for control centre environments, but which today, via related standards, covers a wide range of system activities in the power system, for example electricity markets. The information model in IEC 61970 is called the Common Information Model - CIM.

Further information and links could be found here.

Get ready for Edition 2 of IEC 61850 Core Standards - One Day Presentation

TÜV SÜD Embedded Systems (Munich) offers a one day presentation titled:

Get ready for Edition 2 of the IEC 61850 Core Standards

One Day Training on IEC 61850 includes a the visit to the TÜV SÜD Embedded Systems Level A Lab:

December 13th, 2012
Munich (Germany)

Edition 2 of the IEC 61850 Core Standards have been already published (part 4, 6, 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 7-410, 8-1, 9-2) and part 10 (Conformance Testing) will be published by the end of 2012. Whether you have an already certified Device or you are planning to develop a new implementation, the new aspects of Edition 2 of the IEC 61850 Core Standards have to be considered, because it will soon become a major market differentiator.

Download program and registration information for the IEC 61850 training [pdf]

See you there soon.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Are RTUs dead?

Which definition of RTUs do you mean? Do you mean Reach The Universe? Yes, these RTUs will live forever. Let me know what you mean by RTU.

When we talk about RTUs, we should differentiate between functions, I/Os and processor platform. In the past (some 10 years ago) an RTU was more or less well defined by its functions, I/O wires/terminals and platforms. Many of them are still in use and a lot more will be installed in the years to come.

Today we have many many more functions (those we know well, and those we could think of), hardwired I/Os, serial I/Os (Ethernet, ...), hierarchies of I/Os (or RTUs or just IEDs), and many more very powerful platforms.

Whenever we talk about an RTU, we should list the functions it implements, hardwired I/Os, serial I/Os (Ethernet, ...), hierarchies of I/Os (or RTUs or just IEDs), and the powerful platform. I have seen yesterday a substation ruggedized box with an 8 port Ethernet switch, some 20 I/O wired terminals, with IEC 61850 and other protocols, and programmable applications (C/C++, IEC 61131-3 CoDeSys, simple web PLC). Is this box an RTU, a bay controller, a PLC, a gateway, a substation computer, (condition) monitoring device, an Ethernet Switch? Its a bit of everything!

In my experience utility people use a new name for the "interface" to a substation: Substation Gateway.

In any case we should describe what we mean by a term (e.g., RTU), and should describe any box independent of its name.

"Names are sound and smoke", it says in Goethe's Faust. To make sure this is not the case, companies are putting a lot of money on name inventors. The name RTU was invented some 20+ years ago - a good name so far. We can keep the name - but have to define what we mean.

What do you think about this interpretation: RTU = Reach The Universe (of a substation or power plant or ...). That is broad enough to cover everything.

We have tried many times to find a name for IEC 61850 - we failed so far. We should not try anymore to find a name. A single name would mis-lead. If we talk about IEC 61850 we have to clearly describe what we mean!! Just saying: My device conforms to IEC 61850 doesn't mean anything. What does IEC 61850 Edition 2 mean? Nothing!! There is NO IEC 61850 Edition 2 at all! What? See some discussion:


The issue is that the semantic is carried by a name. The semantic MUST be defined by somebody. If many definitions exist then we have to be very careful. Ask always what people mean by RTU, IEC 61850 Edition 2, Fizzlipuzzli, ... You belief to know what RTU and IEC 61850 Edition 2 mean. Are you sure? And you agree, that you do not know what Fizzlipuzzli means (except a few people that know me). I don't know what Fizzlipuzli means either. ;-) ... it is something nobody knows. I use it for a function or a device to make sure that nobody associates it with something real he/she knows.

During the first meetings of the IEC 61400-25 (IEC 61850 extensions for wind turbines) we had a serious discussion on "Reports" ... we could not reach an agreement. Because I was discussing the IEC 61850 Report(ing Model). The other person discussed a Report from a turbine containing 10 minute statistical values of wind speed and power produced etc. That's the reason lawyers first define the terms they use in a contract!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Less than 200 Outages in New York still to be repaired

As of today (Friday, 2012-11-16 05:00 a.m.) there are 168 outages left to be repaired.

Updates could be found here.

Security: Is SCADA the next Playground for Hackers?

The number of vulnerabilities in the SCADA world keeps on growing rapidly in 2012. The number of security flaws found within ten months is far bigger than the number of flaws found during the whole previous period starting from 2005.

This is something that should worry all of us – from shareholder to managers and technical people all over. After Stuxnet, it looks like that SCADA systems are one of the next targets of hackers.

Download an up-to-date paper on “SCADA Safety in Numbers” [pdf, 2 MB]

Keep going to convince your management, … to be more serious with regard to SCADA and other automation systems security!

Doing nothing is not an option!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What does a PIXIT provide?

PIXIT stands for “Protocol Implementation eXtra Information for Testing”. The objective is to provide crucial information for the test lab.

One example is the value for the “Maximum number of clients that can set-up a 2-party association simultaneously”, e.g., value=16. Does this mean that the maximum number of clients is restricted to 16? No! The value of 16 is used by the Testlab to run test cases. The number can be much bigger!

The PIXIT document for a SystemCorp IEC 61850 IED lists for the stack/API ina value of 16 – BUT the stack/API and the IED supports up to 255 clients!

If you want to know what a device supports, you should read technical specifications of the IED. A lot of vendors use the PIXIT also as a kind of technical specification. The PIXIT documents should contain a note that the values given in the PIXIT document may be restricted for testing purposes only. PIXIT documents should also show the limits of the IED when applied in real applications.

Download PIXIT Document for a specific IED.

Gezielte Kostensenkung in Offshore-Windparks durch IEC 61400-25

BTC (eine100%-Tochter der EWE) hat auf der Husum WindEnergy 2012 über den Einsatz von (unter anderem) IEC 61400-25 berichtet.

Titel der Präsentation: Gezielte Kostensenkung in der Betriebsphase von Offshore- Windparks durch IT-Unterstützung

IEC 61400-25 liefert einen Beitrag zur Kostensenkung:

“Um die Werte über unterschiedliche Anlagen und Parks hinweg vergleichbar zu machen, werden die Daten auf Kanäle eines harmonisierten Datenmodells gemappt, das nach IEC 61400-25 aufgebaut ist.”

A typical model for the WGEN (Wind Generator) is depicted in the following figure:


This model (from IEC 61400-25-2, and extended by the vendor) is completely defined by an SCL file (excerpt for Speed and Temperature):


Download der gesamten Präsentation von BTC [pdf].

IEC 61850 certified products as per June 2012

KEMA has recently published an updated Test Register (version 2012-
06-18). Since version 2011-11-28 the following IEDs have been tested:

2 new Clients and 40 new servers

Click HERE for the complete list [pdf]

Friday, November 2, 2012

More than 15.000 Outages in New York to be repaired

Huricane Sandy (October 2012) has hit the power delivery system of Con Edison New York. A few days later (2012-11-03) there are still more than 15.000 outages to be repaired! Take into account that several 100.000 transformers are part of the whole system. According to the Annual report 2011 Con Edison of New York Electric Operations added or replaced more than 3,200 transformers in 2011!!

The affected areas are listed on a interactive map. See excerpt:

Outages on 2012-11-03 (the map below shows the situation on this date):

Progress has been made to get power back to all:

on 2012-11-04 (11.30 p.m.):
on 2012-11-13 (12:17 a.m.):
on 2012-11-16 (05:01 a.m.):
on 2012-12-20 (10:00 a.m.):


Source: Con Edison

Visit the complete interactive Map of outages (updated every few minutes).

A brief overview of the CON EDISON SYSTEM AND LIC power system could be found here [pdf].

I wish the New Yorkers and any other people that this impact on a power system will not happen any more!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

IEC 61850 and 61499

OpenPCS 2012, infoteam's established programming system is compliant to the standard IEC 61499. There is an increasing demand for application development for distributed systems coming from grid providers and manufacturers in the power industry. OpenPCS 2012 kills two birds with one stone and combines IEC 61850 and 61499: in cooperation with TQ, Infoteam is demonstrating the control of photovoltaic components at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES. Take your chance and visit Infoteam Software AG in Hall 7A, Booth 130, in Nuremberg, Germany, 27.-29.11.2012.

Link to IEC 61850 and IEC 61499 news report.

More to come related to IEC 61850 and IEC 61499.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Living without Power – Impact of Hurricane Sandy on IEC 61850

Hurricane Sandy is about to hit the U.S. east coast. This impacts the travel to and from the east coast. Additionally, early winter weather conditions in Europe delays flights within Europe … so that several WG 10 experts going to Houston (TX) will arrive one day later. That’s a minor issue.

But more crucial: It is likely that Sandy will cause power outages for hours, days or weeks. What does it mean to live without power? According to the it could be summarized as follows:

Most Americans have simply never lived without power for any extended period of time. No power means:

• No internet (OMG!)
• No TV (gasp!)
• No recharging cell phones.
• No hot showers.
• No laundry machines.
• No dishwashers.
• No heating of your home.
• No lights.
• No toasters or ovens.
• No computers.
• No radios unless you have a wind-up radio or spare batteries.

For some period of time as well:
• No police response services
• No fire response
• No ambulances

Having some renewable sources (PV panels, Solar heating, …) on your roof and more distributed power systems (storage, …) would help to survive to some extend!

I wish all people that are hit by power outages all over that it will not be so severe the days to come!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ENTSO-E: European Utilities are Coming Back Onboard of IEC 61850 Standardization Work

Congratulation to the experts of the ENTSO-E that have figured out (and convinced their management!!) that it is a good idea to get – again (!!!) – involved in the international standardization and implementation of IEC 61850!!! Welcome back (home)!

The standardization work is going on for some 17 years these days. The vendors have dominated the standardization work so far – it is great to see utilities to come back (home) in order to reach a balance between benefits for users and vendors.

See a description of the situation in 2007 with the title:

Do users really get what they expect?
Do they get interoperable IEDs and tools?
What about multi-vendor projects?

Many utilities all over have understood the benefit of the standards – but are still waiting to harvest the fruits. I am confident that the situation is much better than what people write in some public statements.

I am conducting a three day training here in Frankfurt (Germany) … with many attendees from users!! … attendees from BIG utilities in Asia, New Zealand, Africa, and Northern Europe! More to come!

Don’t worry! We are still at the very beginning of the journey to IC 61850 based information exchange!

Read the new publications from ENTSO-E on interoperability issues in IEC 61850.

ENTSO-E is back on the track to a bright “interoperable” future!

Again: Congratulation for coming back home! I would appreciate to meeting with the ENTSO-E expert(s) during the next IEC TC 57 WG 10 meeting in Texas end of October 2012 – (un)fortunately I have to travel to Australia next week (for 10 days) and then to the U.S. to helping experts in implementing IEC 61850!

I look forward to meeting more “ENTSO-E” experts at one of my next training courses in South Africa, U.S. or Europe.

Monday, October 15, 2012

FDIS IEC 61850-7-410 Edition 2 approved

The FDIS on IEC 61850-7-410 Edition 2:
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 7-410: Basic communication structure –
Hydroelectric power plants – Communication for monitoring and control

has been approved by 100 per cent of the national committees!!

This is a major step towards applications of IEC 61850 in hydro power plants.

Please find some information about the new content of IEC 61850-7-410 Edition 2.

Next Step towards a Web Service Mapping in IEC 61850

IEC TC 57 has published the

Draft IEC TR 61850-80-3 (Document 57/1292/DC):
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 80-3: Mapping to Web Services – Requirement Analysis and Technology Assessment

This document will serve as a basis for the creation of a new Specific communication service mapping (SCSM): the future IEC 61850-8-2.

The document (written by WG 17) is circulated in order to get feedback from a wider range of experts, mainly on the global approach and on the requirements of each involved domain.
The TC 57 P-members are invited to submit comments to this draft
by 2013-01-04 at the latest.

The following solutions are considered as candidates:

  1. OPC UA
  2. IEC 61400-25-4 Annex A
  3. DPWS (Devices Profile for Web Services)
  4. IEC 61968-100 (TC 57 WG 14 approach of using XML)
  5. RESTful Web Services over Websockets
  6. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)

It is still the objective to chose ONE of these solutions and publish it as IEC 61850-8-2 in the future.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Are SCADA System Vulnerabilities Real?

Yes, the vulnerabilities are really real! One of the latest reports came from the ICS-CERT ALERT the other day.


Excerpt: “… the vulnerabilities are exploitable remotely by authenticating to the service using hard-coded credentials. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities would allow attackers to remotely connect to the server and executing remote code, possibly affecting the availability and integrity of the device.”

Recommendation: Take the security risks very serious – technical people, managers, accountant people, researcher, consultants, vendors, users, … ALL!!

More to come.

Get prepared to expect the unexpected.

Friday, October 12, 2012

NEW Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP)

The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) started the next phase that is based on a private/public partnership funded by industry stakeholders in cooperation with the U.S. federal government.

SGIP’s mission is to provide a framework for coordinating all Smart Grid stakeholders in an effort to accelerate standards harmonization and advance the Interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems.

The new website of SGIP has just opened.

For those that are looking for the role IEC 61850 and other IEC TC 57 standards are playing in the SGIP, please check the following page:

IEC 61850 in the List of Standards.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RePower reports on successful applications of IEC 61400-25 in North America

Amir Zohar and Frank Wolfmeier (both from RePower) have published a great paper on the use of IEC 61400-25 (based on IEC 61850) in the North American wind energy market in the magazine “North American Windpower” (issue October 2012).


“Wind farm owners and operators have been quick to recognize that this
standard will facilitate the integration of their projects. EDF Renewable
Energy (formerly enXco) is currently completing the installation of its first
of two projects with IEC6140-25. … SCADA companies are beginning to
notice the potential of IEC 61400-25.

The wind energy industry is constantly aiming to increase efficiency as
it strives to become competitive with traditional power generation. … and
having a standard for communication will help overcome these issues and other operational difficulties.”

I have met Amir Zohar recently in Denver (CO). He is a smart engineer that believes and trusts in the standard IEC 61400-25 – he sees a bright future of the application of this standard in the wind industry all over.

Access the article on IEC 61400-25 in the “North American Windpower” (issue October 2012).

RePower offers Wind Turbines with IEC 61400-25.

2012/2013 IEC 61400-25/61850 Training Opportunities in Frankfurt, Cape Town, Atlanta (GA), and Phoenix (AZ)

Introduction to IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 – two Papers available for download.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Condition Monitoring of Assets with IEC 61850

Asset Management using IEC 61850 is one of the important areas of future power delivery systems. Transformer monitoring in the Distribution Network is one of the crucial solutions to keep the power flowing. IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 have a lot of logical nodes and data objects.
The presentation of a paper by Karlheinz Schwarz at the Distributech 2010 was attended by some 40 experts. Good questions were discussed at the end of the presentation. The paper has an attachment with the names of all 283 published Logical Nodes of all standards of the series IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25.

Click HERE for the paper [PDF, 670 KB]
Click HERE for the presentation slides [PDF, 300 KB]

Recently another paper on the same subject was presented by Rod Hughes and Christoph Brunner.

More to come soon.

IEC 61850 – As seen by The Very Large Power Grid Operators (VLPGO)

IEC 61850 defines several aspects on how devices interoperate and how the interoperation is engineered and guaranteed to run in multiple vendor projects. Earlier this year we have seen a public statement by ENTSO-E on the use of IEC 61850 compliant devices and tools.

Another huge organization has added to the ENTSO-E statement: The Very Large Power Grid Operators (VLPGO). The “association of the 16 largest Power Grid Operators serving more than 70% of the electricity demand in the world and providing electricity to 3 billion consumers”.

I guess this is true – then I would expect that these 16 power grid operators could easily “control” what vendors have to deliver – deliver IEC 61850 compliant solutions that meet the needs of these companies!! And they could have an appropriate influence on the standardization work.

Download the VLPGO statement on IEC 61850.

Instead of purchasing what they really want and need, they complain about the standardization groups: that the standardization organizations “should from the PGO perspective be more directive within the standard.

They should not allow different suppliers
to implement standards differently.

In particular, a strong standardization degree at the interfaces between tools (vendor specific or third-party) is required. Moreover, stability, or at least backward compatibility of the standard should be guaranteed. … Consequently, we would like to strongly suggest to all IEC61850 stakeholders to take the appropriate actions in order to ensure the success of IEC61850 and to make sure the standard – and the technologies developed around it – remain sustainable and provide significant benefits for all stakeholders and the community.”

I am wondering that (obviously) the few utilities that deliver 70% of the electric demand have an interesting view on what the IEC TC 57 (and other groups) could manage and gain.

IEC COULD NOT control what and how vendors implement
and what users use!!

This could (more or less) easily be controlled by the user communities: by just purchasing products that meet the users’ requirements only. Why did the many utilities purchase automation systems that did – to some degree – not meet their requirements? Were they not precisely specified or did they not understand how to write the specifications? Or? My experience is that in many cases the technical people of utilities had not been involved in purchasing IEC 61850 based systems! Several utilities hired me for a training of their engineers AFTER they the vendors commissioned the systems. Engineers told me that they were responsible for the service and maintenance of the systems – having NO CLUE what IEC 61850 is!!

Engineers of a well known group of large utilities in Europe told me some two years ago that they were not allowed to conduct lab tests or build pilot projects … in one case a utility expert told me that they had to stop their special group of experts on IEC 61850 to get prepared for the new technology – instead their management believed that the vendors do all things right.

There is a saying: “Pay now or pay later”. From the perspective of the years 2000-2002 utilities refused to “pay” for the standardization and for “controlling” the implementation into products. They have decided to “pay” later: 2012, 2013, … I look forward to see them paying.

Back to the standardization: IEC standardization work is a democratic process and: the work is done by people attending the meetings and contributing to the technical work. If the user communities would have been shown up more often and contributed to the technical to a higher degree, then we would not see these statements flying around today. The users (especially the 16 BIG ONES in the VLPGO) should GET INVOLVED (by letting their experts getting more deeply involved or by providing resources for people that are already involved …) instead of “strongly suggest to all IEC61850 stakeholders to take the appropriate actions in order to ensure the success of IEC61850 and to make sure …”.

I would have expected a statement like this: “VLPGO member companies offer increased and appropriate resources (many more experts getting involved and funding Millions of Dollar or Euro for common activities) in order to ensure the success of IEC61850 and to make sure …”. The VLPGO member companies – somehow – have to provide more resources than it was the case in the last 10 years or so.

It is time to educate more people from the many stakeholders to understand how IEC standards are defined and what it means to have a standard published. The standardization groups can lead the horse to the water – but they cannot make the horse drink the water!

Vendors, users, system integrators, and consultants should work more closely together to make sure that everybody gets a benefit from the standard. One possibility to support this goal could be to set-up a European Users Group for IEC 61850! This group could be a subsidiary of the UCAIUG – it would be easier (especially for utility experts) to travel within Europe than across the Atlantic. By the way, the UCAIUG is – from my point of view – more a Vendors Group!

Finally: The vendors have spent a lot of time and money in defining the standards and to implement them!!! Thanks a lot for their engagement! Keep going!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Download IEC 61850 Blog Content as single PDF Document (Oct. 02, 2012)

For those readers of the blog that want to get the complete content as a single pdf document, it is just a click away … it contains the 710 posts from 2008 until 2012-10-02. Once you have downloaded the file you can easily browse the content … search

Download all posts of the IEC 61850 blog in a single pdf [16.8 MB, 510+ pages DIN A4]


Monday, October 1, 2012

IEC 61850-5 Edition 2 FDIS Published for Ballot

IEC has published the FDIS for ballot until 2012-11-30:

Part 5 Ed2: Communication requirements for functions and device models

Extensions in Edition 2 of part 5:

  • requirements for communication between substation automation systems to utility automation systems;
  • including the interfaces for communication between substations (interfaces 2 and 11);
  • requirements from communication beyond the boundary of the substation

Note that part 5 does NOT DEFINE FUNCTIONS!! The scope states:

“The description of the functions is not used to standardize the functions, but to identify communication requirements between Intelligent Electronic Devices … Standardizing functions and their implementation is completely outside the scope of this standard.”

There are other parts of IEC 61850 that go beyond the issue of determining the communication requirements: e.g., part IEC 61850-90-7 defines behavior at the electrical coupling point of a PV inverter. Depending on the configuration (input) of the various settings of a specific model the electric output of the inverter has to follow the “FUNCTION” that is described in the Logical Node model!

See example of the frequency-watt mode control function.

2012/2013 Training Opportunities in Frankfurt, Cape Town, Atlanta (GA), and Phoenix (AZ)

Frankfurt (Germany), 17.-19. October 2012
3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with several embedded Controller Development Kits (RTOS, ...), Starter Kit (Windows DLL), and several other demo software.
Details for Frankfurt (Germany) can be found here

Cape Town (South Africa), 11. February 2013
1 day course on introduction and status of Edition 2 of Series IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 (Wind), and IEC 62351 (Security); Q&A session
Details for Cape Town can be found here

Atlanta, GA, (USA), 06.-08. March 2013
Phoenix, AZ (USA), 11.-13. March 2013
3 day Seminar on Power and Energy System Communication covering IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, DNP3, NIST Interoperability Roadmap, Smart Grids, ... Security; Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with several embedded Controller Development Kits (RTOS, ...), Starter Kit (Windows DLL), and several other demo software
Details for the US events can be found here 

Frankfurt (Germany), 06.-08. May 2013
Frankfurt (Germany),
16.-18. October 2013
3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with with several embedded Controller Development Kits (RTOS, ...), Starter Kit (Windows DLL), and several other demo software
Details for the event in Frankfurt (Germany) can be found here

NettedAutomations IEC 61850 Training Modules and Experience

Beck DK61 Library Update Available

An updated IEC 61850 library (v1.36.07) is now available for Beck IPC Development Kits. This replaces what is being shipped on the DK61 disks.

The Beck DK-61 IEC 61850 library v1.36.07 with example application with source can be found on the following website website:

Revision history can be found in the On-line API Manual:

MMS, IEC 61850-8-1, and IEC 62351 (Security)

Just a brief information on security in the MMS mapping of IEC 61400-25-4 and IEC 61850-8-1.

ISO 8650-1 (ACSE) defines the details of Authentication referred to in IEC 62351-4:

Excerpt of 62351-4:


See example of ACSE AARQ  in Wireshark (connecting to an IEC 61850 IED, password “glue” – in plain text):


So, it would be sufficient to refer to IEC 62351-4 in IEC 61400-25-4 Edition 2 and in IEC 61850-8-1.

The following experience may be yours as well:

  1. Think of an IEC 61400-25-4 / IEC 61850-8-1 MMS Server in an IED.
  2. MMS allows to set a username and password.
  3. The client is for example the Omicron IED Scout.
  4. You can use a password to protect the access to that server (to some extent).
  5. Many clients do not support to use a password to be sent to the server. So access from a couple of SCADA clients is not easy to manage … or even not possible at all.

It is highly recommended that the user community feeds back their experience with MMS passwords to the standardization groups like IEC TC 57 WG 10, 15, 17, 18, 19, ...

If you have a special experience or requirement on MMS password exchange, please let me know.

Thanks for your feedback.

How Does IEC 61850-3 Apply for IEDs Outside Substations?

I have been contacted several times on the question: “What are the requirements in IEC 61850-3 (General requirements, EMC, EMI, …) that have to be applied in DER, SA, … Wind turbines, Hydro Power stations?”

In IEC 61850-3 these applications are partly excluded (57/1246/CDV) says under

6.7.1 Electromagnetic environment

“… In addition to the mentioned electrical plants, Electricity Utilities can install apparatus in

control centers, radio repeaters, or low voltage distribution points in industrial, commercial or residential areas. These locations are covered by other generic standards or product standards. …”

An IED for a Hydro power plant, PV inverter, other DER or DA application to become compliant with IEC 61850-3 requires some definition in IEC 61850-3 for these domains. Pointing to “other standards” is to fuzzy.

I would highly appreciate to get your opinion which most crucial standards for other areas than HV/MV substations are applicable. We could then summarize the result and publish some guidelines … hints.

Please contact me in case you have some useful hints on the applicability of IEC 61850-3 outside substations.

Java SDK for MMS and IEC 61850 available

Monfox (Cumming, GA, USA) implemented the DynamicOSI™ Java MMS SDK as a Standalone platform-independent software development kit and API which implements the core message defined in ISO 9506 Manufacturing Message Specification (MMS) required for implementation of most client and server MMS and IEC 61850 / 61400-25 applications.

The SDK is a simple Java MMS service-based API and OSI protocol stack for performing MMS operations over OSI/RFC1006 (TCP/IP). It provides a 100% Java, fully-interoperable, standard-compliant implementation for:

  • Core MMS services from ISO 9506-1
  • OSI Association Control Service Element (ACSE)
  • OSI Presentation Layer
  • OSI Session Layer
  • OSI Transport Layer
  • RFC1006 (OSI over TCP/IP)
  • IEC 61850 Client/Server Support

More information on MMS in Java for IEC 61850 can be found here.

Introduction to IEC 61850 – two Papers available for download

Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC) has presented two papers on IEC 61850 in Macau (2008). The papers can now be downloaded for free:

The first document gives an overview about the common aspects of the new international standard series IEC 61850 and how it is applied and extended to meet the requirements for al-most the whole electrical energy supply chain. It discusses the reduction of total life cycle cost of power utility automation systems using standard compliant devices, communication and tools.

IEC 61850 beyond Substations – The Standard for the whole Energy Supply System [pdf, 174 KB]

The second document gives an overview about the application of the new international standard series IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 for condition monitoring of primary equipment and monitoring of any process information. It discusses the basic monitoring concepts of IEC 61850 using the many information models (status information and measurements) and communication services for reporting, logging, GOOSE, sampled values, and recording

Advanced Condition Monitoring of Primary Equipment with the Standard Series IEC 61850 AND IEC 61400-25 [pdf, 432 KB]


Friday, September 28, 2012

Performances of Photo Voltaic Systems (PV) in Germany

Did you know that on May 25, 2012, 179 GWh electric power have been provided by PV systems?

You can view at any time the total output of all PV plants in Germany installed up to the specified cutoff date. The animated graphics demonstrate the role already played by photo voltaic systems in generating electricity in Germany today, and show that PV systems also contribute to reducing the high cost of midday peak demand.

Link to current and historical performance of Photo Voltaic Systems (PV) in Germany provided by SMA

Note that SMA is supporting the application of IEC 61850 for managing PV systems.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mainova baut Anlage für Strom-zu-Gas-Technologie

“Die Mainova AG (Frankfurt) baut Pilotanlage zur Energiespeicherung! Frankfurt wird Modellstadt für die Power-to-Gas-Technologie: Die Mainova AG wird die bundesweit erste Demonstrationsanlage bauen und betreiben, mit deren Hilfe Strom aus Wind und Sonne in Wasserstoff umgewandelt und in ein kommunales Gasnetz eingespeist wird.

Die Anlage wird am Mainova-Heizwerk in der Schielestraße errichtet und soll Ende 2013 in Betrieb gehen. Sie wird pro Stunde rund 60 Kubikmeter Wasserstoff erzeugen und so in einer Stunde 3000 Kubikmeter mit Wasserstoff angereichertes Erdgas in das Frankfurter Verteilnetz einspeisen … die Strom zu Gas-Technologie wird für Versorgungsunternehmen aller Größenordnungen interessant werden”.

Download die Pressemitteilung vom 25.09.2012.

Damit (und mit weiteren Anlagen in der Planung) wird der vielversprechende Ansatz, Strom in Form von Gas zu speichern, ein gutes Stück vorangetrieben!

Open Position: IEC 61850 and TÜV SÜD expand into the North American Market

TÜV SÜD is a well known authority in the testing of IEC 61850 IEDs with regard to IEC 61850 Conformance Tests, Functional Tests, Security Tests, and Safety Tests. They have been accredited from the UCAIUG as an IEC 61850 test lab.

TÜV SÜD is currently expanding its service portfolio in the field of embedded systems, focusing on safety and security in the certification of machinery and installation control systems as well as networked embedded systems. In this context we focus on the following sectors: the energy industry (e.g. smart grid, smart meters and conformity/interoperability of communication networks and systems for distributed energy resources in accordance with IEC 61850), factory automation, chemical, oil and gas industry and rail (advanced security aspects).

TÜV SÜD is offering a new position for a Project Engineer for their Industrial IT Security and Smart Metering services in the USA.

Please check the full description of the position.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IEC 61850 in the U.S. – many Open Positions

An increasing number of open positions in the U.S. that require IEC 61850, one way or the other, are reported by

Check a list of 55 (as per 2012-09-25) descriptions posted during the last 30 days.

This is two times more than those that require knowledge in DNP3 (as per 2012-09-25).

Many of the positions require experience in SCADA systems. This is an indication that IEC 61850 will be used more and more beyond protection and control systems in substations.

More to come.

MMS (ISO 9506) available for Download

The 2003 version of ISO 9506 (MMS, part 1 and 2) is available for download:

Download ISO 9506-1 (Services)

Download ISO 9506-2 (Protocol)

Need help in MMS, IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, … contact us.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

IEC 61850 at the Remote Conference in Denver (September 18-19, 2012)

IEC 61850 was one of the highlights at the 2012 Remote Conference and Exhibition in Denver (CO) on September 18-19, 2012.

NettedAutomation conducted a Seminar on IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 and presented solutions for a short-time-to-market development.

Dan Nordell (a long-term utility expert and UCA expert from day one) explained to many experts that came by at the booth, what the benefits of the standards are:


The many discussions during the seminar and at the booth reviled the growing interest in IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 in the USA. Several vendors of RTU and SCADA solutions, and utility experts reported that they are in the process of making decisions on how to get standard to implement or apply conformant solutions implemented in the near future.

Many open positions in the USA are requesting – one or the other way – knowledge with regard to IEC 61850.

How are you planning to get the needed knowledge on IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 and MMS (ISO 9506)? Contact NettedAutomation to get the right support.

Cyber Security issues for the Energy Systems

The U.S. Rice University has published a report on cyber security issues for the U.S. energy systems. This report repeats saying that the industry needs to do something – guess that is very true.

Here is the report on Cyber Security.

New publications of IEC TC 57 on IEC 61850, CIM and Security

IEC TC 57 has published several documents:

IEC 62351-5 TS Ed.2 approved as TS:
Data and communications security – Part 5: Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives

IEC 61850-90-7 TR Ed.1 approved as TR:
IEC 61850 object models for photovoltaic, storage and other DER inverters

Here you can find information abut the content of IEC 61850-90-7.

IEC 61970-301 Ed.5 out for CDV ballot until 2013-01-04:
Common Information Model (CIM) base

Draft IEC TR 61850-90-2 out for comments by 2013-01-04:
Use of IEC 61850 for the communication between substations and control centres

IEC 61850-10 Ed.2 out for FDIS ballot until 2012-11-23:
Part 10: Conformance testing

Monday, September 17, 2012

TÜV SÜD lädt zur zweiten IEC61850-Laborbegehung ein

TÜV SÜD lädt zur zweiten IEC61850-Laborbegehung ein (Anmeldung bis Mittwoch, 12:00 Uhr möglich):



Interesse? Bitte kontaktieren Sie Frau Ana Dominguez

Embedded Systems (V-INM)
Barthstr. 16
80339 München / Munich
Phone: +49 89 5791 2195 (Munich)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

NettedAutomations IEC 61850 Training Modules and Experience

Please find a comprehensive description of training services provided by NettedAutomation including a list of training sessions (past events) and modules of training topics:

Training on IEC 61850 offered by NettedAutomation [pdf, 2.6 MB].

In addition to the theory of the standards it is the huge experience collected during 10 years of comprehensive training that makes the courses unparalleled.

The next public training is scheduled for Frankfurt (Germany) on October, 17-19, 2012

I hope to see several utility experts there, see ENTSO-E statement on IEC 61850 and their complaint about the situation in High Voltage substations. Seats and a discount fee are available.

SystemCorp IEC 61850 Stack/API – Questions and Answers

SystemCorp has published a lot details on their website. Several often asked questions have been answered in Application Notes.

The recent notes deal with GOOSE performance, Update call at server side to provide multiple values (e.g., stVal, q, t) in ONE call, and Ethernet raw package driver.

The Application notes can be found here:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

ENTSO-E statement on the IEC61850 standard

ENTSO-E representing 41 TSOs from 34 European countries has published earlier in 2012 a statement on IEC 61850 for the application in European Transmission Systems. The statement criticizes that the level of interoperability expected by the utilities has not yet been implemented by the vendors.

This is also my personal experience speaking to hundreds of utility experts all over. What happened? How can it be overcome?

The main reason for some challenges in getting a higher degree of interoperability is that the same utilities (from the 41 in ENTSO-E) that are now complaining DID NOT get enough involved in the standardization process AND NOT in the process of implementation and first pilot tests. The feedback (needed in such comprehensive standards) was very weak.

I was personally seriously impacted by the changes in the utility industry some 10 years ago: The industry has funded my (and other peoples) involvement in the standardization work until 2002 – to help to make sure that the utilities’ requirements got implemented in the standards!! For the next 10 (crucial!) years after 2002 almost NO UTILITY expert showed up or was seriously involved. The vendors were finishing the standards without the “control” of the utility industry. AND: The first implementations and projects were not really watched and commented by the utility experts. The vendors still are preferably implementing turn-key substations often WITHOUT utility experts involved! Utility people usually have very little understanding what IEC 61850 means.

On one side it is unfair to not really showing up and not getting sufficiently involved in the process for the last 10 years and then – when some minor issues are still not solved – complain that the TSO’s requirements have not been fully met! Several experts have tried some 10 years ago to convince several CEOs of big utilities to continue funding the standardization work! We did not have any chance!

By the way – the good sign is now that the ENTSO-E TSOs WOKE UP! Hope that they will get back to become again a serious partner in the international standardization and in the implementation and application of the standards.

Download the ENTSO-E statement on IEC 61850

In the meantime many other domain have decided to use IEC 61850 – in most cases the interoperability at a very high degree is reached in these applications.

All market stake-holders are invited to get involved – some may first need to get some education to understand that IEC 61850 is more than just another protocol.

The statement refers to EPRI’s UCA development that has cost some 50.000.000 USD !! Where are the European utilities that are willing to spend a reasonable amount of Euros to get the remaining requirements of the TSO implemented in the years to come?!

I look forward to receiving many enquiries for training courses from European TSOs in the years to come ;-)

I have trained many utilities all over to help them to understand the standards, products, tools, and the vendors … often utility experts have NO clue what this is all about!