Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Energiewende gelingt mit IEC-Normen und guter Ausbildung

Die DKE – Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik im DIN und VDE dient als moderne, gemeinnützige Dienstleistungsorganisation der sicheren und rationellen Erzeugung, Verteilung und Anwendung der Elektrizität und so dem Nutzen der Allgemeinheit. Sie ist das Kompetenzzentrum für elektrotechnische Normung in Deutschland.

„Die DKE gestaltet die Energiewende aktiv mit. Durch Normen und Standards, die neue Märkte öffnen und Innovationen ermöglichen. Mit der Initiative Energiewende 180° bieten wir Unternehmen und Institutionen mit ihren vielfältigen Innovationen zur Energiewende ein Forum.“ (Dr. Thies, DKE)

Die Kraft der Normung entfaltet sich durch Aktivitäten, die den Dialog fördern, Kompetenz sichern und Engagement stärken. Deshalb hat die DKE die Initiative Energiewende 180° ins Leben gerufen.

In diesem Sinne hat sich die NettedAutomation HmbH mit einem Beitrag am Kompendium Energiewende 180° beteiligt:

Energiewende gelingt mit IEC-Normen und guter Ausbildung

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Secure is the Information Technology for Electric Grids?

Are you surprised that there are many Security Gaps? Guess just a few experts are surprised that there are crucial Gaps! Why? Security is not a business case for utilities. Security measures are – in the eyes of many responsible people – just producing costs without helping to increase the shareholder value … as long as no serious attack happens.

A new US congressional survey has brought a lot of serious details and facts to light:

Electric Grid Vulnerability – Industry Responses Reveal Security Gaps

Click HERE for the complete Report published yesterday (May 22, 2013) [pdf]

I hope that the “EnergieWende” will not loose its “W” and end in an “EnergieEnde”. We are about to risk loosing the “W” … Or?

Semantic Models of IEC 61850 raise Interest in OPC UA Domain

One of the first true international standards in the domain of automation that defines rich semantic models is IEC 61850: LogicalNodes containing DataObjects containing DataAttribues … etc.



IEC 61850 models of all almost all application domains have been converted to UML (Enterprise Architect). The interest in the many crucial semantic models of IEC 61850 is growing all over!

From the UML representation of the IEC 61850 based class-models it is now possible to generate OPC UA Address Spaces!

UMLbaT—UML based Transformation

UMLbaT is an extension, a so-called Add-In, for Sparx Enterprise Architect. The Add-In is an advancement of existing CIMbaT (CIM based Transformation). With CIMbaT it is possible to generate OPC UA Address Spaces from CIM based class-models. Now, with UMLbaT, it's also possible to create OPC UA Address Spaces from IEC 61850 based class-models.

Visit the UMLbaT website (OFFIS Oldenburg) to get more details on the transformation.

Usually the various fieldbus consortia define fieldbus-specific “models” … not allowing interoperability at semantic level between different fieldbusses. IEC 61850 semantic models could now be accessed by MMS (as defined in IEC 61850-8-1) and OPC UA. The mapping of IEC 61850-7-2 ACSI to OPC is under discussion and may be published as IEC 61850-8-2.

In the mid 90s we had already a document IEC 61850-8-2 (SCSM: Mapping to Profibus FMS). See also discussion on further mappings in IEC 61400-25-4.

Let me know what you think about the transformation. Thanks.

Many ISO standards for free download

Some people complain that ISO standards are expensive … there are many ISO standards available for free download from ISO:


… it may be quite late for widespread use of ISO/OSI standards …

Here are some direct links to standards related to IEC 61850, MMS, ASN.1, …

ISO/IEC 7498-1:1994
Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model: The Basic Model

ISO/IEC 7498-3:1997
Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model: Naming and addressing

ISO/IEC 7498-4:1989
Information processing systems -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model -- Part 4: Management framework

ISO/IEC 8824-1:2008
Information technology -- Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1): Specification of basic notation

ISO/IEC 8825-1:2008
Information technology -- ASN.1 encoding rules: Specification of Basic Encoding Rules (BER), Canonical Encoding Rules (CER) and Distinguished Encoding Rules (DER)

ISO/IEC 8825-4:2008
Information technology -- ASN.1 encoding rules: XML Encoding Rules (XER)

ISO/IEC 9834-1:2008
Information technology -- Open Systems Interconnection -- Procedures for the operation of OSI Registration Authorities: General procedures and top arcs of the International Object Identifier tree

… and many other standards.

What does the OSI-AP-Title “1,3,9999” mean?

Is this identifier more than just a number defined by somebody from IEC TC 57 WG 10? No! The underlying definition is the “OSI Object Identifier model” (OID). This numbering schema has been defined some 30 years ago in the context of ASN.1.

MMS and MAP 3.0 used this identifier concept to get unique object identification (see MAP 3.0). The basics of MMS and OSI have been defined in the 80’s … and a lot of people are still (and again and again) struggling with these concepts that have no real use these days. The concept of OIDs is great – just we do not make use of it in the domain of IEC 61850.

Many people I have trained and many other people have no clue what these numbers mean and what purpose they serve.

“In computing, an object identifier or OID is an identifier used to name an object (compare URN). Structurally, an OID consists of a node in a hierarchically-assigned namespace, formally defined using the ITU-T's ASN.1 standard, X.690. Successive numbers of the nodes, starting at the root of the tree, identify each node in the tree. Designers set up new nodes by registering them under the node's registration authority. The root of the tree contains the following three arcs:
0: ITU-T
1: ISO
2: joint-iso-itu-t”

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object_identifier)

The OID is used by ACSE to establish an application association … for MMS.

Definition in IEC 61850-8-1 Edition2:


Example in SCL notation:


Here is the meaning of the values “1”, “3”, and “9999” for the OSI-API-Title according to http://oid-info.com:

“1” –> http://oid-info.com/cgi-bin/display?oid=1&action=display


“3” –> http://oid-info.com/get/1.3


“9999” –> http://oid-info.com/get/1.3.9999


The value is a reserved value ->


IEC 61850 and especially IEC 61850-8-1 does not (yet?) use the registration of further identifier for specific application.

So, applications (servers) need to use the “1,3,9999.13” to allow MMS/ACSE to establish an application association! Please make sure that your client uses the correct setting of this and the other configuration attributes in the address.

The last value “13” is not known to me … could not find any hint on that. It is not registered.

Please do not change this OID “1,3,9999” used by MMS. The value “1,3,9999.13” is used as an example in 8-1 Ed2. The “13” may be replaced or omitted – I guess.

The value could be empty as well. The following attributes are all optional (IEC 61850-8-1 Ed2):


These are mandatory:

image image

Some vendors fix the values ion their PIXIT documents:

Example 1 (Alstom Mx70):


Example 2 (ABB COM600):


Example 3 (Siprotec):


Please check the documentation of the vendors’ IEDs to figure out how the various attributes are used and which ones are required!

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another draft standard that “copies” IEC 61850 Logical Nodes

ISO/TC 205/WG 3 (Building Automation and Control System (BACS) Design) has published recently a new work proposal on power system information models [ISO/TC 205 / SC N 410].

Title: Facility Smart Grid Information Model

Purpose and justification of the proposal:
”The purpose of this standard is to define an abstract, object-oriented information model to enable appliances and control systems in homes, buildings, and industrial facilities to manage electrical loads and generation sources in response to communication with a “smart” electrical grid and to communicate information about those electrical loads to utility and other electrical service providers.

This proposed standard will define an information model intended to provide a basis for revision or creation of technology- specific communication protocol standards that enable products and services to control the operation of electrical energy generating and consuming devices found in homes, commercial buildings, institutional buildings, and in manufacturing and industrial facilities, in cooperation with energy providers in a "smart grid" environment.”

The new work item proposal states that “This proposal builds upon work done by IEC/TC 57 Power Systems Management and Associated Information Exchange … There is no known conflict with an existing IEC or ISO standard or project.”

There may be no conflict … the proposal (same as Draft standard BSR/ASHRAE 201P) “copies” Logical Nodes from IEC 61850 and modifies the Data Object names. For example:

Excerpt from Draft standard BSR/ASHRAE 201P: DEROperationalModeControls

Operating mode at the ECP.
Control of the operational modes of the DER – constant watts, constant vars, …More than one mode can be set simultaneously for certain logical combinations (61850
Logical Node = DOPM).
Parent Class(es): CommonLN
UML element location: Model Elements from External Sources.IEC61850.61850-7-420. DEROperationalModeControls.

Table 5.193 - Class Attributes

Data Object Description CDC
OperationalModeConstantW Mode of operation - constant watts. SPC


Mode of operation - constant power factor. SPC
OperationModeConstantV Mode of operation - constant voltage. SPG

Excerpt from Standard IEC 61850-7-420 (LN DOPM):

Data Object Description CDC
OpModConW Mode of operation – constant watts SPC
OpModConPF Mode of operation – constant power factor SPC
OpModConV Mode of operation – constant voltage SPC

So, changing the names from abbreviated names to full text names makes it another standard information model … why? If other groups “copy” the Logical Nodes and Data Objects they should keep the names … Or?

I guess the main reason for this is:

Genesis 11:9 “Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the LORD mixed up the language of all the earth.” … languages spoken by humans and by computers!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

English Version of Vattenfall’s “VHP READY – Virtual Heat & Power Ready” available

Vattenfall Europe Wärme AG (Berlin, Germany) has published the famous specification “VHP READY” for information exchange in virtual power plants based on IEC 60870-5-104 respectively IEC 61850-7-420.

In order to integrate renewable energies into the power supply system successfully and economically, ways must be found to store and control them. The Virtual Power Plant, which stores energy in the form of heat, is a promising approach to solving this problem. With this technology, modern heating systems can also help to integrate renewable energies into the power supply cost-efficiently and accelerate the “Energy Transition”.

Data transmitted between a plant and the central control system via IP networks are encrypted either according to the IEC 60870-5-104 standard or the IEC 61850 series of standards (IEC 61850-7-420 in particular). Time synchronization is via SNTP/NTP. The following protocols are used for communication:

  • either IEC 60870-5-104 or IEC 61850 / 61850-7-420
  • TCP/IP

Download the specification 3.0 in English [pdf]
Download the specification 3.0 in German [pdf]

The approach used in the specification is exactly what needs to be done for many other applications domains: define the profile to be implemented in such a detail that no or just very few options are left!!

The specification needs some more details to be published: the complete details of the information model as an SCL file. Currently the models are partly specified in SCL … the LNs and DOs are just listed in a table. The next version will have more details. And it is very likely that other resources like PV … will be included in version 4 as well.

Congratulation to Vattenfall for this promising approach!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Optical Fibre for Temperature Measurement in Power Systems

Optical fibres are known to be used in power systems because they withstand the rough conditions in high voltage environments – as such they are used in Substations for carrying messages, e.g., according to IEC 61850.

There is another very interesting use case of optical fibres in power systems: in generation, transport, distribution, and loads. One of the crucial measurements that can be applied to more efficiently use of electric power is measuring temperatures. But you may state that installing a lot of temperature sensors could be quite expensive!

With the application of optical fibre for measuring temperatures it seems to be a very promising approach to reduce the amount of power needed for many critical process like in huge data centers, high voltage lines and cables, transformers, switch gears, to name a few.

According to alquist (a UK based company specializing on measurement systems using fibres) there are many advantages of fibre as a temperature sensor:

  • Simultaneously measures temperature and position over long distances
  • Low cost – the sensor is made from standard 50/125 optical fibre zip cord - very cost effective
  • Immune to shock/vibration and electromagnetic interference
  • No electronics, wireless, batteries or moving parts in monitoring zone. Totally passive, minimal maintenance.
  • Inherent high reliability (fibre has a design life of 30+ years)
  • High temperature range -200°c to +500°c
  • Extremely small for access in legacy areas with restricted space
  • Easily installed in without any downtime or interruption of service

There are an incredible number of applications for fibre optics beyond their use as a simple communications links.

Download a very useful presentation given by Andrew Jones (alquist) [pdf, 2.8 MB]

The availability of myriads of “measurement signals” from various processes allows to more efficiently use energy, i.e., to reduce the amount of energy we need to consume to service our needs for modern life.

What ever will be measured in energy supply systems could be modeled and communicated with IEC 61850 – The Communication Standard for power system automation. One crucial focus of IEC 61850 is on measurements!