Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FDIS of Edition 2 of IEC 61400-25-2 and IEC 61400-25-3 approved

Two final draft international standards of the series IEC 61400-25 have been approved by 100 % of the members on 2015-05-22:

IEC 61400-25-2 Ed.2: Wind turbines -
Part 25-2: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants -
Information models

IEC 61400-25-3 Ed.2: Wind turbines -
Part 25-3: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants -
Information exchange models

This situation proofs that the core parts of the standard series IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 are mature and available.

It is very likely that those vendors and users that were waiting for the second edition are now speeding up to implement and use IEC 61400-25.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Draft IEC 61850-90-2 for Substation to Control Center Communication published

The substation (or power plant or …) to control center communication is historically based on hundreds of protocols. Among those you will find also protocols like IEC 60870-5-101, IEC 60870-5-104 or DNP3. The original scope of IEC 61850 was (politically) restricted to substations. From a technical point of view it was expected from the very beginning of the work on IEC 61850 that it could be used also for this and many other use-cases.

After several years of work on the official document it is now available for final vote:

57/1578/DTR (164 pages):
IEC 61850-90-2 TR Ed.1
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 90-2: Using IEC 61850 for the communication between substations and control centres

The voting ends on 2015-07-24

This document is very important for the communication with control centers. It covers crucial aspects:

  1. Information modeling (proxy/gateway),
  2. Information models (use of existing models and extensions)
  3. Configuration language and engineering,
  4. Information exchange services (redundancy, …)
  5. Security aspects

for the following use-cases:

  1. Telecontrol
  2. Synchrophasor
  3. Disturbance
  4. Counting
  5. Power Quality
  6. Asset
  7. Parameter configuration

The document contains many examples that help to understand the different use-cases.

This document closes one crucial gap in the information exchange of many different systems, e.g., substations, power plants, hierarchical control centers, with control centers.

The most crucial aspect is the application and extension of SCL (System Configuration Language – IEC 61850-6).

Several useful extensions are defined, e.g., the link between a proxy/gateway model and the original model. To support end to end testing through the Proxy/Gateway functional links between the data objects in the Proxy/Gateway server and the original source of information in a substation IED can be expressed as the following example shows:

<LN lnClass="MMXU" lnType="MMXU" inst="1">
   <Private type="eTr-IEC61850-90-2">
      <eTr-IEC61850-90-2:ProxyOf externalScl="Substation" iedName="IED2" ldInst="MEAS"
      lnClass="MMXU" lnInst="1"/>

Links can be created on each level of the data model using the element:


This new part contributes to the vision of a SINGLE seamless information exchange solution for the whole domain of power delivery (generation, transmission, distribution, use).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Just started: Grid 3.0

Have you heard about “Grid 3.0”? This seems to be the next phase of the power delivery system. Recently several U.S. organizations have discussed the future of the power delivery system. According to their view there are 3 phases so far:

  • “Grid 1.0” can be thought of as the legacy grid of the 20th century
  • “Grid 2.0” is the emergence of the smart grid with automation and information technology improvements, and
  • “Grid 3.0” is what comes next: for example, a future grid with advanced grid operations and greater interactions with consumers and other infrastructures.

Click HERE to access a list of presentations from the

Grid 3.0 Workshop
March 26 to March 27
at NIST, Gaithersburg, MD

Click HERE for a workshop summary.

We are currently in all three phases at the same time. Most of the systems are still legacy (for the next 20+ years), a few start to use automation and information technology, and some start to think about the future … power engineers have always thought about the future (even 130 years ago). One of the big issues in Grid 2.0 and Grid 3.0 is the need for interoperable of systems. We can reach a high level of interoperability – if we want! This is less a technical issue. It all depends on decisions to be made by humans. If we decide to get it, we can get it. Some may not like interoperability at all. Or?

Anyway, let’s assume we get there: Would we then generate Data Tsunamis all over? It is likely that people start to push every data into the cloud – expecting that somebody may use it.

Make sure that you understand your needs – before you look for a protocol or a data model. We have a single protocol for most near-real-time data (IEC 61850-8-1) and data models for almost everything. But does everybody need everything? No!

The big question is: What do you need? To answer this: You need to understand your application.

Monday, May 11, 2015

IEC 61850 meets Fieldbus: Bridge between Profinet and IEC 61850

Industrial automation systems highly rely on many different fieldbusses – one of the crucial Ethernet-based fieldbusses is the Profinet IO (defined in IEC 61158). IEC 61850 is THE standard for information modeling, information models, system and device configuration, soft-realtime communication (GOOSE and SV), and SCADA communication (event reporting, control, exchange self-descrition online from device, logging, statistical and historical statistical information, alarms, ….recording).

Information exchange between (1) power system protection and automation in power transmission, distribution, and power generation (central and distributed) and (2) industrial automation systems is one of the crucial needs for energy efficiency and smart(er) grids.

A new bridge between the two domains is now offered by HMS (gateway SG-40): bridging Profinet to IEC 61850.

HMS – a Swedish based company with 370 employees worldwide – has delivered products integrated in millions of devices around the world.

Key features of the SG-40 Profinet Gateway are:

  • Web based programming with predefined function blocks
  • Optional IEC61131-3 compliant CODESYS softPLC programming 
  • PROFINET IO slave
  • Additional industrial Ethernet networks supported with Anybus technology
  • Modbus TCP client
  • Modbus RTU master
  • IEC61850 client/server
  • IEC60870-5-104 server
  • OpenVPN client
  • Integrated firewall

The family of the smart grid supporting devices offered by HMS comprises the following the device types (for many different applications):


Click HERE for more information you can find at the HMS website.

The SG-40 supports a variety of mappings between several protocols:

1. IEC 61850 device information mapped to Profinet IO to expose IEC 61850 information to the industrial automation world:


2. Profinet IO information mapped to IEC 61850 device information to expose fieldbus information to the power delivery automation IEC 61850:


3. Many other mappings are supported (to/from Modbus, IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3, …).

All signals can be mapped in both directions.

The SG-10, SG-11, and SG-40 devices are using a Web-Browser for a very simple graphical programming tool. No other tools – except Web-Browser – are needed.

A 15 minute video explains the basic concepts of the gateways SG-10, SG-11 and SG-40. These devices provide a highly standardized and easy approach of bridging signals between multiple standard information exchange systems.

The configuration of the devices is very simple … no tool other than a web browser is needed to configure the input and output signals coming from (going to) the devices connected to various communication systems.

The devices can play one or all roles of IEC 61850 (Server, Client, Publisher, or Subscriber) in parallel. This allows to “collect”, e.g., many signals from a substation as a client and expose them into a Profinet network; or “collect” signals from the Profinet slaves and master and map them to an IEC 61850 Server.

This allows a very short time-to-market integration of the information of power related information into the industrial automation and vice versa.

One key-point is: The standard series IEC 61850 is the ONLY standard that offers a very comprehensive information model for all crucial power delivery system needs!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Are You Looking for IEC 61850 Related Publications?

Here is a very interesting link to a database (GetInfo - The Portal for Science and Technology) that lists some 830 publications related to IEC 61850. You can search for authors and contributors.


Click HERE for a search on “IEC 61850”.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Renewable Energies and Energy efficiency in your Neighborhood

I just came about the following interesting website showing a map of thousands of renewable resources in Europe:


You may search for Frankfurt or other cities:


The map shows some 60,000 examples. You can add your own PV system or …


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Could a Power Outage of an Airplane happen in the Air?

Yes, a power outage of an modern airplane could be caused by a simple software problem – related likely to a wrong assumption. What does this mean for the future power systems?

The following official report from the U.S. Government FAA, dated May 01, 2015 says that a

Boeing Model 787 airplane that has been powered continuously for 248 days can lose all alternating current (AC) electrical power due to the generator control units (GCUs) simultaneously going into failsafe mode. This condition is caused by a software counter internal to the GCUs that will overflow after 248 days of continuous power.

The software counter internal to the generator control units (GCUs) will overflow after 248 days of continuous power, causing that GCU to go into failsafe mode. If the four main GCUs (associated with the engine mounted generators) were powered up at the same time, after 248 days of continuous power, all four GCUs will go into failsafe mode at the same time, resulting in a loss of all AC electrical power regardless of flight phase.”

Click HERE for the full report.

What is the lesson we can learn from this situation? I guess simply this: If you have to program something you need to know precisely under which assumptions the “something” should work. Usually you have to make firm assumption under which the “something” will work. If you would assume (for example) that an airplane of model 787 would never be powered continuously longer than 90 days, then the counter would not overflow under normal conditions.

But: If this assumption is wrong, then the counter could overflow.

I guess that we quite often design systems under assumptions that may be valid at time of the design – but that may show later that they were quite wrong! Some 40-50 years ago it was not assumed that the traffic in 2015 would be as is is now. Or?

The power utilities assumed some 15 years ago that PV-Power (mainly installed on roofs) should just be understood and treated as negative power connected to the grid – so that there was no need to invest in power management and automation systems. I remember such discussions in the German national standardization (DKE). Within a short time period they had to learn that the assumption was wrong! Now we have almost 40 GW of installed PV systems.

The next wrong assumption could likely be the number of Batteries connected to the power grid. The needed investment in the future power system will highly depend on the assumption on how fast the installation of batteries will happen! I have talked recently to utility experts that they fear a fast growth of network connected batteries. The batteries behave different compared to Wind Turbines and PV systems – batteries can import and export energy. They can change their behavior within very short time. A sudden huge power flow change of millions of battery systems could cause power outages.

So, MUST we assume that this could easily happens or not? Depending on our answer, we have do spent more or less Euros or Dollars … Experts that don’t want to invest a lot more will argue, that it is unlikely to happen.

The (wrong) assumptions of today could likely be the reasons of power outages in the near future. The bad side of the assumption that the installation of battery systems will grow fast is: It will require a lot of more efforts to keep the power system reliable.

I guess we will see increasing numbers of batteries being installed after yesterdays announcement (May 01, 2015) of the new Partnership for Global Energy Transformation: LichtBlick (Germany) integrates Tesla Battery Storage (US) into Energy Markets.

A crucial key component in the future power systems is related to information management and standardized information exchange with IEC 60870-5-104 and IEC 61850. VHPready is an important step to support LichtBlick and many other companies.