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]