Friday, December 6, 2019

How Serious Are You About Cyber Security For Power Systems?

I know: A lot has been talked and written about Cyber Security for power delivery and many other systems.

BUT: What about insurance that specify coverage for cyber damage? 

You may figure out that your company has insurance covering cyber damage. So far - so good!
Be careful and read the latest development regarding the question, if all damages will be covered by your policy.
Please check the following report and ensure this article is made available to all senior managers and executives immediately ... a famous case (Merck) explains that there may be cases where the insurance companies may not pay at all ... in case of big bang attack ...

Click HERE for the wake-up call for everybody - from Bloomberg!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

IEC 61850 Deadband Reporting and Logging - What Does It Provide?

IEC 61850 Reporting and Logging are very useful services to keep the needed bandwidth for messaging low. It is a bit tricky to understand how it works ... due to the fact that there are two documents that need to be studied to understand the function (IEC 61850-7-2 and IEC 61850-7-3). And: You need to know that some changes in the operation of Reporting and Logging happened from Edition 2 to Edition 2.1 (soon to be published as International Standard).

Deadbanding in IEC 61850 provides a filter mechanism that defines, when an analogue value will be reported by the IED (Server side) to another system (Client side).

Edition 2 of IEC 61850-7-3 defines:

"Deadband. Shall represent a configuration parameter used to calculate all deadbanded attributes (for example mag attribute in the CDC MV). The value shall represent the percentage of difference between max. and min. in units of 0,001 %.
If an integral calculation is used to determine the deadbanded value, the value shall be represented as 0,001 % s.
A db value of 0 shall suppress reporting events on the analog value, so that only changes of the range value will lead to events."

Edition 2.1 of IEC 61850-7-3 will define:

"Deadband is a configuration parameter used to calculate deadbanded value 'mag'. The value of 'db' shall represent the percentage of 'dbRef' in units of 0.001 %. Therefore, 'db' = [0...100000], corresponding to [0 %...100 %], respectively. If an integral calculation is used to determine the deadbanded value, the value of 'db' shall be represented as 0.001 %s.
With a 'db' = 0 the attribute 'mag' follows the instantaneous value.
If 'db' is not present in the model, then the deadband calculation is a local issue."

See Tissue Data Base on deadbanding.

"db" = 0 is a dangerous configuration value!! It is like divide by "0". Any (small) change of "instMag" will issue a report or log entry. I am a little bit confused ... but finally it may help with the following use case: Output of the Schedule "ValMV" that is of CDC "MV". See the following figures for some details:

"db" >= 0 could reduce the number of events (reports/log entries) for analogue values. Usually an analogue value is a measurement or a calculated value.

In case of modeling schedules (FSCH in IEC 61850-90-10 / IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2.1) it is required to report/log a scheduled value - which is similar to a measurement ... but it is a non-continuous value (has "jumps" only) ... OK. CDC MV is used for the Output of a Schedule. What is the impact of the "db" value?!? Be careful!
The following figure discusses the impact of trigger option "data change" and "db"=0 as well as "data update":

Finally: If you need to see (as a client) changes only, then "db"=0 is the right configuration. If you want to receive/log a "confirmation" of any new value at the beginning of a new Schedule Interval (SchdIntv) then "data update" is the right configuration.

You need to understand your needs before you decide how to configure deadbanding.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The History Of The IEC 61850 Modelling

The standardization of IEC 61850 started in 1995 when the IEC TC 57 Working Groups 10, 11, and 12 had been setup. Later all projects have been moved to the Working Group 10 - that is still (very!) active today.
Prior to the new project proposal for IEC 61850 the EPRI UCA project developed core models for many signals and communication services. UCA used a simple table notation for defining "models".
The experts involved have discussed several options how to model the signals. In December 1998 the editors of the core documents (including myself) met in Ann Arbor (MI, USA).

We discussed modelling with ASN.1 or our own notation:

we were not quite happy ... then we discussed trying UML … walked across the street to the University bookshop to purchase some 10 Books about UML Modelling. I purchased several books, too:

… a senior development manager of protection relays was strictly against UML … he said, it will never be used for protection and automation. Some weeks later I met his engineers in their office … and saw that they used UML for developments …

Later I tried OWL with some success:

Experts involved in CIM (Common Information Models) used UML - with the SPARX tool Enterprise Architect (EA). It took several years before UML (and EA) was used to define all models of IEC 61850. Today (end of 2019) almost all models and other definitions are managed with the EA - it is a big success! The latest version comprises the following parts:

There are tools available to export parts of the model from EA as Word documents, html pages, pdf ...

Example of a model:

With the application of the SPARX EA we have a single source of all crucial definitions.

Note: The EA package "IEC61850Domain" is only available for the experts writing, publishing and maintaining the various standard parts.

Some exported documents (the so-called code components) are available for free access:
Click HERE for accessing these documents.

Thanks to the experts that have continuously pushed for using UML and EA. It took several years ... and it was not easy for engineers to use a formal language and tool to get where we are today.

These days the EA is used also for many other tasks: use cases, design state machines like for IEC 61850-90-16 (System management), ... IEC TC 57 has done a good job in using UML for CIM and IEC 61850. But another generation of engineers is needed to understand the full benefit of using UML.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

E-Book verfügbar: etz Report 34 "Offene Kommunikation nach IEC 61850 für die Schutz- und Stationsleittechnik"

Der lange Zeit vergriffene etz Report 34 (2004, 159 Seiten):

"Offene Kommunikation nach IEC 61850 für die Schutz- und Stationsleittechnik"

ist als E-Book verfügbar!

Hier klicken, um die E-Book-Version zu erwerben.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Draft IEC TR 61850-90-18 on Alarm Handling Published

IEC TC 57 just published a new 50 page draft part of IEC 61850 (57/2157/DC):

IEC Draft TR 61850-90-18
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 90-18: Alarm handling in IEC 61850 based systems

Comments are expected by Nov 29, 2019.

Work is done by TC 57/WG 10 together with TC 88/JWG 25 (Wind Turbines).

This part defines a methodology to handle alarms. The crucial concept is defining an “Alarm Server”.

Use-cases considered are related to:
WG 10: IED communications & associated data models in power systems
WG 17: Distributed Energy Resources
WG 18: Hydroelectric power plants
JWG 25: Wind Power

Sample Use case: Wind power system
"Several clients connected either to an alarm concentrator handling alarms from a system of
identical distributed IED’s or directly to one specific IED. Some of the alarms are defined as
latched and all alarms are defined either with or without acknowledgement.
If a wind turbine is maintained and thus in service state, all alarms must still be captured and
exposed, but marked with an “in-service” flag for filtering (and not to be annunciated).
The IED’s may either be proprietary devices or comply with IEC 61850.
Domain: Common in wind-power domains."

IEC TC 57 WG19 proposes CIM Profiles to JSON schema Mapping

IEC TC 57 WG is discussing the use of JSON for transferring message payload

DRAFT 62361-104:

Part 104: CIM Profiles to JSON schema Mapping

The introduction says:

"This standard is one of the IEC 62361 series which define standards that may be used by all
Working Groups within TC57. These standards address areas of interest that impact multiple
standards and provide consistency for implementations.
This part 104 describes a mapping from CIM profiles to IETF JSON schemas and defines the
rules that CIM JSON message payloads must adhere to.
The principle objective of this part 104 is to facilitate the exchange of information in the form of
JSON documents whose semantics are defined by the IEC CIM and whose syntax is defined by
an IETF JSON schema. ..."

JSON is applicable for encoding of CIM (IEC 61968/70) message payload and - as I believe - also for IEC 61850 message payload!

By the way: The post on "IEC 61850-8-2 Versus IEC 61850-8-1" discussing the use of JSON in addition to MMS/ASN.1/BER and MMS/ASN.1/XER has been visited 2,000 times since July 5, 2019 --> or 16 times per day.

Click HERE for additional discussion on the use of JSON ...

3-Day Training for Electrical Engineers New to IEC 61850

3-Day Training for Electrical Engineers New to IEC 61850

17-19 March 2020 | London, UK

Day One: Tuesday 17 March
Core Concepts
Overview of IEC 61850 and introduction to the core concepts, including the hierarchical data model, communication services and the range of applications possible.

Day Two: Wednesday 18 March
Engineering and Configuration
Deep-dive into the IEC 61850 engineering process, learning how to use Substation Configuration Language and engineering tools for IEC 61850 specification, system design and IED configuration.

Day Three: Thursday 19 March
Learn how to thoroughly test IEC 61850 systems, including functional and system testing as well as gaining an overview of cybersecurity considerations for IEC 61850 systems.

Click HERE to learn more.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Megger Organizes the First Latin American Protection Conference 6-7 November

Primera edición del Congreso Latinoamericano de Protecciones

La primera edición del Congreso Latinoamericano de Protecciones ( a desarrollarse los días 6 y 7 de noviembre del corriente año en el Hotel Meliá, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

El evento reúne a especialistas y líderes en la implementación de sistemas de protecciones orientado a la experiencia del usuario final. Se dirige a lograr un panorama sobre el estado actual y futuro de los sistemas de protecciones dentro de la subestación y en la red más amplia en América Latina.
El programa de dos días abarca ponencias de usuarios, fabricantes, especialistas y expertos, seguido del tutorial de dos horas de duración sobre los Factores de éxito para la utilización de IEC 61850 dirigido por el Ing. Carlos Samitier centrada en los estudios de caso de implementación de IEC 61850 a nivel global, los errores más frecuentes y cómo evitarlos. Además, de los paneles sobre futuras aplicaciones en mantenimiento en IEC 61850 con la participación de los especialistas en tecnologías de ensayo de protecciones.

Los ejes temáticos están relacionados con los Avances y tendencias en IEC 61850, Esquemas avanzados en protecciones, Ensayos automatizados de protecciones eléctricas, Lecciones aprendidas en activaciones de protecciones, Comunicaciones para protecciones, entre otros.

In case you are interest to share your experiences at the conference, contact Mr. Roberto Sartori (

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Next week: IXXAT Smart Grid Gateways at IEC 61850 Global 2019 in London, UK

IXXAT (HMS) will be available at the conference to demonstrate you the latest gateway family supporting IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, Profibus, ProfiNet, Ethernet/IP, M-Bus, ...

IEC 61850 Global 2019
London, UK
Oct 14, 2019, 02:00 AM - Oct 19, 2019, 02:00 AM

Drawing together 150+ IEC 61850 specialists and implementation leaders, this end-user-driven programme focuses on achieving multi-vendor, multi-edition interoperability within the substation and across the wider smart grid.

Click HERE for more details on the event.

New IIoT gateways from HMS allow industrial equipment to communicate with smart grids ...

Click HERE for more details to solve smart grid information models and communications.

Note that the gateway will come with MQTT as well ...

Click HERE for the Gateway with MQTT support.

Cyber Security and SAFETY in Power Systems

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at NIST just released a draft of the NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide, SP 1800-23, Energy Sector Asset Management, on September 23, 2019, and is requesting your feedback. Public comments on the draft will close on November 25, 2019. "...that will help energy organizations address the security challenges of OT asset management. ..."

The main objective is to have a look at "programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), which provide command and control information on operational technology (OT) networks ..."

Click HERE for the Guide.

The Guide seems to be written by mainly non-protection engineers or even non-electrical engineers. I have read the other day in a discussion about the Guide that the term SAFETY was not mentioned in the  guide ... huch ...

Here is my explanation why SAFETY is not in the scope:

The safety in electric power systems is mainly managed by PROTECTION devices. These devices protect humans, equipment and power flow. Protection has the highest priority in electric power systems. Protection is also crucial for availability and reliability. Protection engineers are - in my view - the most critical engineers.

My experience is that IT and OT people fear the high voltage ... starting at 100 Volt or so ... so, that may be the reason the document NIST SP 1800-23 does not discuss any protection (SAFETY) related function.

They don't have Sr. protection engineers in their mind ... maybe they don't know what these engineers are doing ... and how important they are to keep the power flowing.

A friend of mine (a senior protection engineer) and I have conducted many IEC 61850 seminars together ... I have always admired him!!

My friend answered:

In general unfortunately it is as you describe.
The circuit breaker doesn’t work? The protection engineers have invented the “breaker failure”. This is a bit biased, any component can fail of course…
The Sampled Values are not delivered? The relay has to manage that. They are “delivered wrong”? The relay has to try to understand it and be robust.
Yes, it is probably more difficult to design and set a good protection system (including the design of the relay) than doing an airplane...

IEC 61850 For Monitoring Data - Private or Standard?

One of the most crucial issues in the management of energy systems is: HOW TO share or exchange useful information generated by a myriad of sensors and applications needed by hundreds of applications?

Lets assume that lakes of information are generated every second. Usually this information is stored in silos of vendors specific solutions and communicated using one or more vendor specific communication solutions ... as shown in the following sketch drawn by our grandson Jan Oliver:

The expectations to apply IEC 61850 are high! BUT quite often vendors argue, that it is easier to use their private solutions - faster and saves time and costs! This may be true for the first phase of a project - but in the long run and in the view of the life time cost it may be completely opposite.

Three experts from Vattenfall DSO (Sweden; Vincent GLINIEWICZ, David EROL Anders JOHNSSON) have reported at the CIRED conference 2019-06 in Madrid (Spain) from an implementation of a pilot project using IEC 61850 and CIM  with the title:


Excerpt from the paper:

"... However the data unfortunately currently often remain unused and unshared outside of the substation or specific silos for various reasons, some technical (e.g. cyber security, system incompatibility), some and organizational (e.g. vendor lock-in, siloed applications and organizations).
Additionally, with an increasing number of use cases requiring access to information, there is a growing number of information flows needed not only between data sources and central level applications but also between these central level applications. Without an IT architecture that allows reuse of information flows, there are legitimate concerns that the opportunities that digitalization promises might be delayed and costly or even worse, not be achievable.
As a result, Vattenfall Eldistribution sees a standard based integration approach as a cost-effective approach that seems to offer in the long run low integration costs and more importantly a greater flexibility, going from supplier specific integrations to a more generic approach. ...

We would also like to highlight some of the deviations from the standards that were observed during this pilot:

The pilot made use of a REST API towards the real time data historian (RTDH in fig. 2), although there was no mention of REST in the 61968-100 standard. One could however expect, given the increasing popularity and use of RESTful services in most industries, that the standard will soon follow and that the mention will be added in a further edition on the standard.
The gateway used in the pilot was a prototype base on a technical report (IEC TR 61850-90-2) [Using IEC 61850 for communication between substations and control centres] which is not yet a standard. This might explain why there doesn’t seem yet to be a complete and robust 61850-90-2 compliant product on offer in the market. Another alternative considered for the pilot gateway was the use of IEC 61850/MMS towards the substation and the use of web services (either RESTful+ JSON or SOAP) to communicate northbound instead of the IEC 61850/MMS used in the pilot. SOA has indeed a robust and well developed architecture for distributed computing, and this should be leveraged. There however did not seem to be any products available on the market. This alternative will be explored in a coming pilot. ..."

The paper concludes:

"Although the pilot was made for a primary substation, the widespread use of the IEC 61850 standards series make the results of this pilot not only applicable for primary substations, but potentially also secondary substations and microgrid.
Following the successful pilot, the next step is to look at how to fully implement and verify the concepts in a real substation and to secure production grade components where prototypes have been used as well as test the architecture through other smart grid use cases."

Click HERE for the full paper.

I have run an UCA/IEC 61850 pilot project with Anders Johnsson some 20 years (!) ago:

Two reports out of this pilot project and other discussions have been published in 2002:

Wind Power Communication
Verification report and recommendation

Click HERE for the Report.

Wind Power Communication - Design & Implementation 
of Test Environment for IEC61850/UCA2

Click HERE for the Report.

Enjoy the reports.

By the way: It took some 20 years to understand that the mapping of IEC 61850 models and communication protocols to MMS (ISO 9506) should be extended by a much easier and simpler mapping to JSON and, e.g., MQTT or http ...

It is not too late for such an additional standardized mapping ... e.g., as IEC 61850-8-3.

It may take another 10 years before this becomes true! Hope it will happen a bit earlier!

Further reading on the subject see discussion of IEC 61850-8-1 versus 8-2 (by 2024-02-25: 4074 visits of the post since July 2019).

Other people have similar ideas and published the following paper:

International Electronical Committee (IEC) 61850
Mapping with Constrained Application Protocol
(CoAP) in Smart Grids Based European
Telecommunications Standard Institute
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Environment

Friday, October 4, 2019

IEC 61850 All Over At CIRED Conference 2019-06 in Madrid Spain

I was really surprised to browse through some of the 51 papers presented at the CIRED Conference 2019-06 in Madrid Spain that refer to IEC 61850 !!

Click HERE for the CIRED search engine. Enter "61850" and you will find the links to the 51 papers presented this year that mention IEC 61850 by some means or other.

Unfortunately I don't have time to study them all in detail ... hope to find some time soon.

While searching the web, I found another very interesting paper:

International Electronical Committee (IEC) 61850
Mapping with Constrained Application Protocol
(CoAP) in Smart Grids Based European
Telecommunications Standard Institute
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Environment

Click HERE for accessing that paper. More to come ...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

IEC Offers Code Components for IEC 61850 and other standards

One of the most crucial benefits of IEC 61850 information models is the availability of code components - the possibility to get a computer processable document that contains the formal definition of a model, e.g., the measurements of a three phase system.

Excerpt of MMXU:

The following document has just been published:

Handling of Code Components in IEC Standards
Including Copyright Licensing

Handling of Code Components v8.0 2019-08-29

This document sets out the process and rules to be used by IEC groups (TCs, SCs, PCs, WGs, SyCs, …) and experts in charge of editing IEC documents to ensure a proper handling of copyright licensing of code components included in IEC deliverables. It also defines the technical and process requirements to consider to optionally offer a free access to certain code component(s) through the IEC web site. At the current time this document only applies to IEC TC57

Click HERE for the full document.

Click HERE for the list of name space available for immediate access.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Why Is It So Easy To Map IEC 61850 Signals to JSON Objects?

IEC 61850 defines Device Models for the exchange of information between any two or more entities. The Models are structured as unique branches of a tree.That means:

Each path from the Device (Root) to 
any node or leave of the trees is unique

The signals are composed of an access reference (LDName/LNName.DOI. ...) and the value that corresponds with the path.

Example of two leaves:
LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.mag.f = 23.5 (Temperature value)
LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.units.SIUnit = °C (Temperature engineering units)

These are key-value pairs that could easily map to JSON Objects:

"LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.mag.f " : "23.5"
"LDName/Tran1STMP1.Tmp.units.SIUnit" : °C

These JSON objects are

  • Light-weight
  • Language independent
  • Easy to process with Python, ...
  • Text based and human readable 
  • JSON Schemas could support automatic (syntax and semantic) checks
  • JSON is supported by many controllers
The controller of our PV inverter from Fronius has an http/JSON interface. The following request (lines 1-3) returns many common inverter data (line 21ff):

Lesson learned: Controller in inverter could easily provide an http/JSON interface.

The Device Model is a virtual model that could be configured using the SCL (System Configuration Language, IEC 61850-6). The Device Model is implemented in an IED and could be accessed to get the self-description, read, write, send/receive reports, publish/subscribe, ...

An IEC 61850 Server hosted by an IED could easily map the model to JSON objects that may be communicated with MQTT, HTTP, ...

The mapping to JSON is quite easy. It could be implemented by a simple automatic process that parses the model (SCL/XML), searches for the paths and concatenates the names from the root to the leaves to get the reference! AND: the mapping preserves the semantic - the meaning represented by the path name.

The mappings of IEC 61850 Models to IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3 or Modbus would result in messages that have lost the semantic of the signals. These solutions have mainly numbers as reference - these numbers have no meaning in the communication.

FDIS Ballot for Amendment 1 for IEC 61850-7-2, 7-3 and 7-4 Edition 2 Approved

The ballot of the three amendments (Amendment 1 for IEC 61850-7-2, 7-3 and 7-4 Edition 2) passed the FDIS process. All three amendments have been approved by 100 %.

The next step will be the IS publication of the three amendments.

It is likely that there will be a consolidated version of each of the three parts - means: the amendment is merged into the edition 2 versions and become edition 2.1.

IEC 61850 Sampled Values and GOOSE Messages Reduce Complexity and Cost

Synaptec Ltd (a spin-out technology company from the University of Strathclyde, UK) developed a distributed electrical sensing technology platform using IEC 61850. The approach allows measured values from up to 50 current transformers to be acquired passively using a single optical fibre core over a distance of up to 50 km. These measured values can then be utilised as part of centralised PAC schemes, or communicated to traditional PAC devices for analysis via IEC 61850-9-2 / 61869-9. By centralising current measurements, this method eliminates the need of having multiple protection relays at each line ends, complex time synchronisation systems at measurement points, and complex telecommunications equipment among the distributed PAC devices.

Click HERE for downloading the 12 page paper (Differential protection of multi-ended transmission circuits using passive distributed current sensors) describing the application and approach to solve a very crucial challenge.

Another paper (Implementation of centralised, numerical busbar protection using distributed photonic current sensors) describes the design and testing of the first centralised busbar protection scheme that makes use of distributed photonic current sensors and IEC 61850. By utilising distributed, passive sensors which are interrogated purely using standard optical fibre, the requirement for active units in the substation yard is completely eliminated. Additionally, the use of copper wiring from CTs to measurement units may be eliminated. The scheme, designed and built for Statnett by Synaptec, will be installed and trialled at Statnett’s Furuset R&D substation near Oslo, Norway. A prototype centralised busbar protection algorithm, validated with the University of Strathclyde, will run on the central merger unit to prove the principle of centralised busbar protection using a single active IED.

Click HERE for downloading the paper.

Click HERE for the Synaptec news (Norwegian TSO Statnett innovates with Synaptec technologies):

With one system able to instrument 50 locations synchronously, 6 busbar feeders will be independently and simultaneously protected by one system, with capacity to spare for novel temperature and vibration monitoring of nearby HV assets, such as transformers.

The development and the applications show that the standard series IEC 61850 has all the "tools" helping to keep the power flowing and the grass green - at all voltage levels.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tissue Process for IEC 61850-8-2 open for posting Tissues

Please note that the Tissue Database is now open for part IEC 61850-8-2:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP)

Friday, August 16, 2019

VDMA-Leitfaden: "Interoperabilität durch standardisierte Merkmale“

Der VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau) hat diese Woche einen sehr interessanten 70-seitigen Leitfaden zu Industrie 4.0 veröffentlicht!

Interoperabilität durch
standardisierte Merkmale
Leitfaden für Industrie 4.0

HIER klicken für mehr Information und den Kontakt.

„Der Leitfaden „Interoperabilität durch standardisierte Merkmale“ beschreibt, wie Signale und
Werte zwischen Fertigungseinheiten ausgetauscht werden und folgt so der Industrie 4.0-Idee.
Das Schlüsselwort ist "Standardisierung". Produkte, Einzelteile Baugruppen oder
Anlagenelemente sind durch Merkmale beschrieben, die in einem Format übertragen werden.
Die Merkmalbeschreibung sowie das Übertragungsformat liegen in standardisierter Form vor
und bilden eine gemeinsame "Sprache". Diese Sprache bildet die Basis dafür, dass empfangende
Systeme die Daten korrekt verstehen, ...“

Der Leitfaden hat natürlich meine Neugierde und mein Interesse geweckt!

Die hier empfohlenen Maßnahmen und Vorgehensweisen gehen genau in die richtige Richtung ... sie setzen im Prinzip da auf, wo wir Anfang der 90er Jahre mit MAP 3.0 und den MMS-Companion-Standards aufgehört haben!

Seit 2005 haben wir zwei Normenreihen (IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25), mit denen ein guter Teil der im Leitfaden vorgeschlagenen Methoden realisiert wurde und global angewendet wird – leider „nur“ im Bereich der elektrischen Energieversorgung (und hier anfangs zunächst im Hochspannungsbereich). Vor allen elektrischen Systemen mit mehr als 400 V haben die meisten Automatisierer ohnehin großen Respekt – und lassen die Finger von Automatisierungslösungen in diesem Bereich. Das hat sich heute schon vielfach als Fehler herausgestellt.

Die meisten Experten - auch aus dem Maschinen- und Anlagenbau - erwarten nicht, dass wir für die anfangs auf die elektrische Energieversorgung fokussierte Automatisierungswelt Lösungen definiert haben, die auch in vielen anderen Bereichen angewendet werden können!! Ja wirklich!

Es ist ja schon (fast) alles definiert und genormt worden – nur noch nicht von allen!!

Monday, August 12, 2019

IEC TC 57 Just Published the IEC 61850-90-11 on Logics

IEC TC 57 Just Published the 90 pages of the Draft Technical Report IEC 61850-90-11 (57/2129/DTR)

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 90-11: Methodologies for modelling of logics for IEC 61850 based applications

Voting closes 2019-10-04

"This Technical Report of IEC 61850 describes the methodologies for the modelling of logics for IEC 61850 based applications. ... the technical report

  • Defines different application uses cases where all aspects to be considered are clearly identified.
  • Describes the functional requirements and the intended engineering process
  • Proposes a suitable solution in the context of IEC 61850 based on an investigation of the different possibilities to model the logic.
  • Describes the impact on various parts of IEC 61850"
If, when and how this Technical Report will impact implementations of tools and IEDs is quite open. I remember that we had heated debates on the question how to deal with (internal) logics already some 10 years ago.

If you are planning to apply IEC 61850 - please DO NOT wait until this part 90-11 offers stable definitions ... IEC 61850 (as it is defined today) has enough to get started! ;-)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Crucial Vulnerabilities Exist in the VxWorks IPnet Stack

According to Security Week (reported the other day):

"In late July, IoT security firm Armis disclosed eleven vulnerabilities found by its researchers in the VxWorks real time operating system (RTOS). The flaws, six of which have been described as critical, can allow a remote attacker to take control of impacted systems.
Armis said the vulnerabilities exist in the VxWorks IPnet stack and they expose over 200 million mission-critical devices from around the world to attacks, including in the healthcare, manufacturing, cybersecurity, tech, and industrial automation sectors. ..."

Devices from several vendors might be impacted ...

Click HERE for the full report. There you find links to the vendor's recommendations ... You know what that could mean? One vendor notes: "Applying the update causes the device / module to go through a single restart cycle."

Monday, August 5, 2019

Beck IPC offers MQTT@CHIP in addition to IEC 61850 and other protocols

Beck IPC (Wetzlar, Germany, a subsidary of HMS) is known for their solutions on a single CHIP offering support for IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 61850, Modbus, CANBus, Profibus, Profinet, OPC UA, ... now offers MQTT@CHIP as an additional solution.

The MQTT can be configured on the WEB PLC like it is implemented for other protocols:

In the above example I have mapped a signal from an IEC 61850 Server the signal MMXU1.TotW.instMag.f to a MQTT message. This way you can tag the signal as a JSON Object!!

JSON Objekte:
{ „MMXU01.TotW.instMag.f“:  2325, „MMXU01.Hz.instMag.f“:  49.98 }

Message specification:

This way you can send MQTT messages with values from any other protocol or from the IEC 61850 client or server model. This way you can even map to/from GOOSE messages.

I have used the solution running on the IXXAT Smart Grid Gateway. The WEB PLC version 19.2 is required to run MQTT on the gateway.

Very well done!

IEC Draft TR 61850-90-9 - "IEC 61850 for Electrical Energy Storage Systems" Published

IEC TC 57 just published the 138 page IEC Draft TR 61850-90-9

IEC 61850 for Electrical Energy Storage Systems

Voting closes 2019-09-27

This is one of the next crucial extensions for DER-Models of IEC 61850-7-420. This TR will be merged into the 7-420 later on.

The Introduction states: " ...This technical report is primarily based on the recommendation 5.7.4. “interface, control and standard data elements”, of the IEC white paper ”Electrical Energy Storage” published in December 2011 by the MSB. The recommendation proposes the necessity of a standardization of interfaces between storage and other grid elements, protocols for data exchange and control rules, and data elements for input, output and control information supplied by or to storage systems. ..."

Click HERE for the mentioned IEC White Paper.

"This technical report describes IEC 61850 information model for electrical energy storage systems (EESS). Therefore the report only focuses on storage functionality in the purpose of grid integration of such systems at the DER unit level. Higher level Interactions are already covered in IEC 61850-7-420. ... "

The draft defines more than 150 new Data Objects. Excerpt of the first 15 Data Objects:

The blue marked text refers to the Logical Node from which this Data Object is inherited.

This document refers to the standards IEC 61850-7-x and defines additional very crucial information for the configuration, control, monitoring of a battery system.
It is very crucial for the success of the DER models to get implementation and application experience with these very comprehensive and complex models.
Taking into account that the mentioned White Paper was already published in 2011, we learn a crucial lesson: It took a lot of time to get where we are today. And it will take years to get these definitions implemented and used in the power delivery systems. In the mean time you need to tap the experience of engineers that understand the possible use-cases that can harvest the benefits of applying these standards.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

VDE-Studie "Lösungsansatz für Zellulares Energiesystem"

In dem neuen Papier „Zellulares Energiesystem“ zeigt jetzt der Technologieverband VDE eine effiziente und konsensfähige Lösung für eine erfolgreiche Umsetzung der Energiewende: Die VDE-Experten empfehlen den Strom direkt dort zu verbrauchen, wo er erzeugt wird, nämlich auf lokaler und regionaler Versorgungsebene. Bei diesem „zellularen Ansatz“ erfolgt die Umsetzung der dezentralen Energieversorgung auf Basis zellularer Strukturen.

Hier zum kostenlosen Download der Studie clicken.

Die Studie verdient vollen Respekt! Der holistische Ansatz verbindet viele der bisher versprengten, wenig aufeinander abgestimmten Lösungen zu einem ganz Neuen (dem zellularen Ansatz). Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

Der zellulare Ansatz wirkt teilweise futuristisch ... man darf natürlich auch mal träumen! Konkrete Leitlinien für einen Teil der Bürger unserer Gesellschaft sind allerdings rar und insbesondere der Aspekt der „überlebensdienlichen“ Notwendigkeiten scheinen etwas unterbelichtet zu sein. So heißt es auf Seite 26 : „Der Inselnetzbetrieb im zellularen Energiesystem soll nur im Notfall eine Option sein. Im Normalfall sind der Verbundbetrieb und die Solidarität die Regel.“

Es müssen unbedingt „überlebensdienliche“ Lösungen in Form von kleinen (vorübergehend) autarken, kostengünstigen Systemen (beispielsweise PV-System mit ein paar kWp, einem Batteriewechselrichter und ein paar Batterien) implementiert werden, um im wirklich großen oder kleinen Notfall Überlebenschancen für viele – besonders für Schwache – zu bieten.

Hintergrund für diese Position:

Meine Frau benötigt 24/7 ununterbrochene nicht-invasive Beatmung durch zwei Geräte mit jeweils 4-h-Akku Notfallversorgung. Ein Gerät für den Tag und eines für die Nacht. Ein 10-stündiger Stromausfall würde wahrscheinlich ... unvorstellbar.

Beatmungsgeräte für invasive beziehungsweise nicht-invasive Beatmung sind zig-tausendfach im Einsatz! Manche gehen von mehreren 100.000 aus!

Auf der anderen Seite haben wir eine netzgekoppelte PV-Anlage mit knapp 10 kWp ... soweit so gut. Die nützt uns im Notfall nicht, weil sie nur mit dem öffentlichen Netz zusammen funktioniert.

Bei einem Netzsaufall würden unsere PV-Module nutzlos auf dem Dach liegen und sich „sonnen“ ohne einen Sonnenbrand zu bekommen ... sie würden allerdings weiter Schutz für nistende Tauben bieten.

Momentan überlegen wir, wie wir die Module im Notfall manuell auf einen Batterie-Wechselrichter umschalten könnten. Das würde helfen, einen Teil der für Notfälle benötigte Energie vom Dach zu ernsten ... der Salat und die Tomaten im Garten würden ohnehin auch ohne Strom wachsen. Wasser können wir per Handpumpe aus dem Rheingraben pumpen.

Wir alle sollten mal überlegen, wie wir diese oder eine ähnliche Notfalllösung unter die Leute bringen könnten ... das wäre zwar nicht netzdienlich – aber auf jeden Fall auch gemeinschaftsdienlich! Geladene Batterien und mobile Inverter könnten auch an die Nachbarn oder ... ausgeliehen werden.

In unserem Fall haben wir zwei Notstromaggregate, Benzinvorräte und ein paar Bleiakkus mit zugehörigen Invertern. Für den Notfall würde ich gerne einfach einen Teil der Module manuell auf einen Batteriewechselrichter (vielleicht 2 kWp) umschalten. Wenn das Netz wieder verfügbar ist, dann kann man wieder zurückschalten.

Noch eine kleine Nebenbemerkung zum Thema IEC 61850 auf Seite 38:

„Für die Kommunikation und das Datenmanagement im Prozessnetz haben sich in den letzten Jahren
u.a. die IKT-Standards IEC 60870 (Datenmodelle für Energiemanagement) und IEC 61850 (Kommunikation) etabliert.“

Hier wurden offensichtlich die beiden Normen verwechselt! IEC 61850 bietet Datenmodelle ... u.v.a. mehr und IEC 60870 bietet nur Kommunikation.

Beim Thema „Kommunikationsstandard“ haben wir mittlerweile mit den vielen neuen Ansätzen bei IEC 61850 eine hinreichende Basis, um die meisten notwendigen Informationsaustauschmechanismen ((Funktions)Modelle, Dienste und Protokolle) implementieren zu können. DER-Modelle (61850-7-420) werden zurzeit beispielsweise am KIT bei der Realisierung mehrerer Forschungsprojekte verwendet ... das sind erfolgsversprechende Ansätze!

Ich würde mich freuen, wenn der Aspekt „überlebensdienlich“ im hier beschriebenen Usecase in Zukunft in einfache technische und sinnvolle Lösungen einen zielführenden Niederschlag finden würde!

Dieser Vorschlag, den ich einigen Experten aus dem VDE-Umfeld vorgestellt habe, hat bereits nach zwei Tagen viele positive Rückmeldungen bewirkt!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

How to ring the front door bell in case of power outage?

Today I had a phone call with a friend discussing what happens when we suffer a blackout. I was sitting in my home office in the basement when the door bell was ringing. I asked my friend: What would happen, when we would have a power outage here at home?

He sent me a nice picture that I used as an instruction to install a very useful (new) SuperCat bell push at our front door:

If you push the left button ... Auuuuutsch ... we would hear you crying ... haha.

Nice blackout-resisting door bell. I have removed it later ;-)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Holistic Engineering and IEC Standards

One of the most crucial challenges in Electric Power Systems in the future is the fact that multiple aspects like planning, design, configuration, data acquisition, operation, protection, error detection, maintenance, ... security, ... at several layers (process, asset management, ...) are so co-joined with each other and interdependent.

Is this new? No! Some 400 years (!) ago, Rene Descartes was recommending to apply a holistic approach for all sciences ... he did not know the huge interconnected Power systems in Europe, China, USA, ... here is what he has written [extended by myself]:

I highly recommend to educate young people in a way that they get a holistic understanding of the many aspects of the electric power system ... focusing on one or two aspects may cause at the end of the day many problems. The main aspect still is to understand the physics of such a huge system. Any programmer of software impacting the safety of the power delivery system should be educated in physics and especially electrical systems. So, understanding MMS, IEC 61850 or OPC UA is good - BUT engineers should understand the process (electrical system) they are manipulating with some lines of code. Engineers should also be trained thoroughly in the many aspects.

Unfortunately there is quite often little budget for comprehensive training in several aspects. Ask your management for more training - better:more hands-on training!!

Friday, July 5, 2019

IEC 61850-8-2 Versus IEC 61850-8-1

Many people have complained that IEC 61850 is far too complex ... especially because of the mapping defined in IEC 61850-8-1 as the SCSM (Specific Communication Service Mapping) using ISO 9506 MMS as the carrier to exchange IEC 61850 client/server messages. MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification) offers generic objects (NamedVariables, NamedVariableLists, ...) and services (Read, Write, InformationReport, ...). The application of MMS for IEC 61850 requires to define very tricky mappings ...

Click HERE for downloading the FDIS of ISO 9506-1.
Click HERE for downloading the FDIS of ISO 9506-2.

As the convenor of ISO TC 184/SC WG2 (responsible for MMS for many years) I have supported MMS allover ... and I still do it. It is a solution that works well for years ... especially in the domain of substation automation. Other application domains, e.g., DER devices connected directly to a control center (without the need of horizontal communication with up to hundreds of devices), could make use of a lighter message service and mapping concept. The idea of using webservices was discussed many years ago. The IEC TC 57 set up a team to look into it.

The following document written in 2012 discusses the:

IEC 61850-8-2 Web Services Justification

"IEC 61850/MMS is an open scalable suite of protocols that can support real-time operation. However, these protocols are not well understood by typical IT professionals that work in these stakeholder environments, even though the rich information models of IEC 61850 meets the semantic needs of the distributed applications. ...
Therefore it makes economic sense to map the rich abstract IEC 61850 information models to the more ubiquitously deployed and understood communication and security profiles.   This requirement can be satisfied by mapping IEC 61850 to web services, which are the most commonly implemented technologies.
IEC 61850/Web Services is not a replacement for MMS used in the substation.  Rather, IEC 61850/Web Services would be targeted to customer environments where information is used to interact with customer-owned equipment, including Distributed Energy Resources (DER) systems and facility energy management systems. In these situations, information flows between utility systems, customer systems, and third party systems, straddling utility and customer ownership, sometimes within a single application deployment.
The stakeholders deploying DER systems understand that IEC 61850 over web services provide least cost protocols to interact with their DER devices because:
Web Services provide greater compatibility with widely deployed IT infrastructures, tools and skills, including cyber security.

Finally the work ended in the following standard:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP)

The published document 8-2 uses principles of IEC 61850-8-1 as well as MMS services and protocols! Really? Yes. The main difference regarding message exchange is in the encoding of the MMS messages: 8-1 uses ASN.1 BER and 8-2 uses XML messages (with the structure of MMS services defined as XML Schema). Strange? Yes!

You can find the XML schema for the MMS messages using XML encoding here:

Code component of the IEC 61850-8-2, reflecting the XML namespace described in this document. It includes as well the virtual API with IEC 62351-4.

Summary on the protocol issues: IEC 61850-8-2 does NOT provide a direct mapping of IEC 61850-7-2 ACSI models and services to webservices!

I am involved in defining a third mapping (of a subset of services) ... to use JSON schema (and objects) for the models and the messages ... in order to offer really light weight messaging carrying a subset the original semantic of IEC 61850 models!!

We have successfully implemented client and server using http Get and Set services that carry JSON objects representing IEC 61850 Objects.

Example of DataSet and Report (showing the basic idea of mapping to JSON):

The decision to propose the JSON mapping officially to IEC TC 57 is expected later in 2019.

By the way, our granddaughter (20, Student in EE and IT) has implemented this example in Python running on Windows and on two Raspberry Pi3 (one playing the role of server and the other one as client).

We expect that this mapping will push the application of IEC 61850 models and services in domains that need simple solutions that can be programmed by many engineers and programmers.

The JSON mapping could easily be used as an interface from an original IEC 61850 Server (e.g., a bay controller or protection device) to underlying systems:

Sample JSON response from our Fronius PV Inverter with some values:


Response (JavaScript):

Stay tuned to learn more ...

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

1 MWh Electric Energy May Cost 37.856 Euro - You Don't believe it?

Belief me, this is true: You could have sold 1 MWh electric power to the German Grid for 37.856 Euro the other day (used for primary frequency control) - if you would have had the opportunity to sell it on the spot market ...

We have our roof PV system some 10 kWp since Sept 2016. The energy produced since then is 25 MWh ... this would sum up to 25 x 37.856 Euro = 946.400 Euro !! WOW !! Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to influence the German electricity market and to make such a sale ...

See some news in German regarding the situation.

Something went wrong on the 6., 12. and 25. June 2019.

The belief in the Market to fix everything ... may end up in a big blackout.

Add-On (2019-07-03):

Today I found more details on the reasons why we were so close to big trouble:

"Due to a faulty data package, the European electricity
exchange EPEX in Paris decoupled the European
electricity market on June 7, 2019. This caused a great
deal of excitement on the markets. Johannes Päffgen,
Head of Energy Trading at Next Kraftwerke, explains the
causes and consequences in an interview.
Christian Sperling: Johannes - What happened? Why
was there so much trouble at EPEX on the Friday before
the Whitsun holidays?
Johannes Päffgen: Well - in the end it's a computer error... but we should go into that later. At about 11:40 this Friday we noticed that something was wrong at EPEX. We couldn't place any more bids for the day-ahead electricity auction on Saturday. ..."

Clicke HERE for the full report.

I guess it was a human error ... somebody didn't take into account that corrupted data packages will be sent and received ... how could a faulty package have such a dangerous result?!?!


Stay tuned for more information once available.

Monday, July 1, 2019

IEC TC 57 Just Published Amendment 1 of FDIS of IEC 61850-9-2

The following FDIS has been published last week:

Amendment 1 – Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 9-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) – Sampled values over ISO/IEC 8802-3

The ballot closes: 2019-08-09

Compared to the second edition, this first revision of the second edition:

a) updates the normative references
b) adds a synchronization clause (Clause 9); adds references to IEC 61588:2009 and
IEC/IEEE 61850-9-3 for SV synchronization;
c) modifies physical layer specification in T-Profile;
d) modifies MSVCB components (Table 9 and Table 10);
e) deprecates usage of USVCB;
f) modifies encoding for the transmission of the sampled value buffer (Table 14);
g) adds Table 20;
h) adds Table 21;
i) adds Annex C related to possible backward compatibility issues between revisions of this
j) provides clarifications and corrections to the second edition of IEC 61850-9-2, based on the
tissues = { 1349, 1272, 1055, 944, 863 }.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Dangerous Situation in the European Electric Power System Caused by "frozen" Measurements

Measurements of power flow (Watts in export or import) are very crucial for Load Frequency Controller … wrong (i.e., “frozen”!) measurements have caused almost a big blackout in Europe in January 2019.
What happened: the measurement of power of the lines between two transmission systems (Germany – Austria) were frozen when the export value of 723 MW from Germany to Austria was measured (which was a result of 34 GW wind power generation in Germany). Later the wind power generation decreased to 4 GW … and the measurement (as input to the controller) many hours later still used the input value of 723 MW !!! In such a meshed power network it is unlikely that such a value is constant …

Oops … something went absolutely wrong!

Report by exception (on a value change as used for the above measurement) is great … as long as there are changes figured out and reported. A frozen value does not cause a change and thus no new value will be reported … No receiver should expect that the export power is constant (723 MW) for days!! The sensors may have worked fine … but the software and communication failed … on both sides (sender and receiver). A receiver should not trust that the software and communication is working fine all time.
Here are some measures to monitor the communication (by the receiver) to figure out if the communication is OK:
  1. Ping (in case of TCP/IP) (if no response after some time: raise flag)
  2. TCP Keep-alive (if no keep-alive message in t bigger keep-alive: raise flag)
  3. Polling by receiver (if no response after some time: raise flag)
  4. Periodic reporting (if no report in t greater period: raise flag)
  5. In case of no message received in a configured time period (in case of using IEC 61850 Reporting) the receiver should check if the report control block is enabled and is using the correct configuration values like trigger option, …
  6. Check if the sequence of received values are plausible
  7. Use redundant systems (comm, …)
Check out the official Entso-E report (with links to more details):

This reminds me on the Boeing 737 MAX disaster … maybe a programmer left the vendor of the load frequency controller and hired with Boeing … I am kidding.

How many programmer or people that configure power control systems and communication systems that lack experience with complex systems like a plane or a power system. Where are the “grey-hair” experts that would tell you in minutes how to … ? They may enjoy the beach with warm water and sun shine – relax and spend the pension for ...

It is not sufficient to have no ideas – one should also be unable to implement them.

I expect that more of these problems will hit the street once we have far more control, monitoring and communication in the smart(er) grids of medium and low voltage. Note that the problem in January 2019 occurred at transmission level!! … where more resources (higher budgets) are available (in the past).

Have a great weekend – with power.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The IEC 61850 Tissue Database is a Great Resource of Hints and Background Information

The IEC 61850 tissue database is a comprehensive resource of hints and background information that can help you to understand why a particular change or correction has been implemented:

Many tissues are posted that end up in the category "blue" (This is a question only). The discussion of the experts is often very helpful ... here you find answers that you may not get from the original published documents.
Example of discussion:

Enjoy the tissue database. As a registered user you can post tissues and see more details.

Many IEC 61850 Projects Under Progress

37 new parts and parts under revision are under progress as listed in the following table:

As you can see here: IEC 61850 is a bit more than another protocol.

Other parts are published already (some of them are under revision - see above):

Unfortunately many "grey-hair experts" with a lot of experience regarding IEC 61850 have been retired and a lot of experience has been wasted ... politics cares more about wasting food than wasting "experience" good for human survival! It's really a pity when we take into account that the comprehensiveness and complexity of IEC 61850 is growing so fast ...

Saturday, June 8, 2019

IEC just Published Amendments to Three Core Parts of IEC 61850 as FDIS

Hurrah, after long wait ... now they are published:

IEC just Published amendments of the following three Core Parts of IEC 61850 as FDIS:

IEC 61850-7-2 - Services (57/2100/FDIS) - 138 pages
IEC 61850-7-3 - Common data classes (57/2101/FDIS) - 108 pages
IEC 61850-7-4 - Logical Nodes and Data Objects (57/2102/FDIS) - 422 pages

These amendments will be merged into the previous editions and made available as consolidated documents after FDIS ballot (Edition 2.1).

The consolidated documents (published as INF documents) comprise:

IEC 61850-7-2 (181 pages)
IEC 61850-7-3 (135 pages)
IEC 61850-7-4 (440 pages)

One of the most crucial issue solved now is the harmonization of definitions used in different domains like substation, protection, wind, hydro, DER, batteries, schedules, ...

NOTE: The three new documents (and the many other parts published or underway, e.g., 80-x, 90-x) make the standard series IEC 61850 even more comprehensive and MORE COMPLEX.

I hope that there will be enough people responsible for the future of the digitalization in the energy world understanding that there is no free lunch!! Education and training is key!

IEC 61850-7-2

This edition includes the following significant technical changes with respect to the previous
edition, based on almost 100 tissues ... and other issues.

IEC 61850-7-3

Compared to the second edition, this first revision of the second edition provides mainly clarifications and corrections to the second edition of IEC 61850-7-3, based on almost 100 tissues ... and other issues.

IEC 61850-7-4 

The motivation and goal of the amendment is to improve consistency of the data model over
all application domains of IEC 61850. Data (Logical Nodes, Data Objects, Data Attributes)
with the same semantics shall have the same naming where this part of IEC 61850 refers to
Logical Nodes and Data Objects and IEC 61850-7-3 to the Data Attributes.
Therefore, the amendement complements and updates the second edition of this part of
IEC 61850, which was published in 2010. It constitutes editorial revisions for consistency and
technical corrections of bugs as far as interoperability is touched.
To reach this goal and to keep it for all future as common working source a comprehensive
back-office UML version was created and will be maintained for future standard development.
The published parts of IEC 61850 such as IEC 61850-7-4, on which the amendment is based,
are generated automatically from the UML version. This allows publishing, voting and reading
the various parts of IEC 61850-7 as in the past.
This amendment includes changes with respect to IEC 61850-7-4:2010 based on almost 200 Tissues ... and other issues.

Could the Utility Industry learn from the Boeing 737 Max Disaster?

The other day I read the IEEE article:

How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer 

Everybody working in the power utility world SHOULD study this paper in detail - and take some time thinking about it and plan and implement consequences ... by some means or other.

We are in danger to end up here:

I have slightly modified a quotation from the above paper:

“Long ago there was a joke that in the future control centers would control themselves, and the only thing in the control room would be an operator and a dog. The operator’s job was to make the customers comfortable that someone was in the control room. The dog’s job was to bite the operator if he tried to touch anything.

This 737 Max problem is a symptom of a trend that is happening in many domains: power production, power delivery, ... even education (from Kindergarten to university).

A senior developer sent me the other day the following link with the subject:

When management thinks 100 trainees can do work of 3 fully qualified senior developers

This statement and clip is very very true - in my training business with more than 4,500 attendees all over I have experienced that in some cases training (regards IEC 61850 and other subjects) had to be paid by the attendees ... using annual vocation! Unbelievable! HR has a big (often negative) impact on the training of the employees as well. The complexity of, e.g., IEC 61850 is usually totally underestimated! ... no need for a training ... read the myriad of papers and study slides ... that is quite often the recommendation of the management and HR.

This understanding is widespread in the utility domain, too ... students are hired (for low wages) to investigate and figure out how new technologies (especially digitalization) could be used ...

I hope that the utility industry will wake up and do a better job than the people at Boeing - but it will cost a lot of money ... shareholders and customers may not want to spent.

The European electric power system is under more stress since January 2019 ... see the following link (first German and second English text):

Switzerland was on the brink of a blackout on May 20, 2019:

On the left side bar you can see that we faced three additional critical situations (two in January and one in April 2019)!

One reason behind all this is the "market driven" power delivery ... more and more relying on software that processes a lot of data to get forecasts and set schedules for the energy flow. Hope that this software is better than ...

We all rely 24/7 on electric power. Have you thought about the possibility of local, regional or total blackouts? How would your life change?

I am nursing my wife here at home. She needs ventilation 24/7. The two ventilators have each a battery good for four hours ... so a blackout of 10 hours would mean that my wife ... For that reason I have several batteries, two emergency generators and some 30 liter gasoline.

I hope that not many "old grey-hairs are sitting in the corner" - BUT walking around and helping the young people to understand why we have the electric power system as it is now - developed in more than 130 years. Senior experts like Gregory Travis (author of the IEEE article) are very rare ... and not well understood ... and maybe too expensive for the bean counters.

The cumulative experience of the "old grey-hairs" (many retired years ago) that has been collected between the 60s and 90s and that are still involved one way or the other should have reasonable influence on young engineers ... in order to keep the power flowing.

In some time down the road we may have 200 trainees on the play field ... and no "old grey-hair" left. In this case the "w" in the German "Energiewende" will drop - means Energie-Ende" ... end of energy.

I am one of these "old grey-hair" engineers (66). Just a few young people are listening to me - I have to stay at home 24/7 ... no travel anymore ... One of the young people listening to me is our grand-daughter (20, finishes her bachelor in EE and IT this year). She is really eager to learn from my experience with MAP, Fieldbus, UCA, IEC 61850, Modbus, ... power systems, renewables, ... As an intern at a distribution company she transfers part of my knowledge to the utility - it is cheaper for the utility than to renew the contract with me ... ;-)

Maybe they will contract with me for the second time - but then it may be too late.

Friday, May 31, 2019

IEC 61850 Products at CIRED June 3-6, 2019 - Madrid (Spain)

3-6 June 2019, Madrid, Spain

SystemCORP will participate together with Advantech in the CIRED Exhibition in Madrid, Spain. It promotes the SystemCORP ADH Software, a flexible and complete data communication and process automation package, fully integrated in Advantech data gateways.

Based on a distributed real-time database and application management system almost any SCADA communication protocol can now be used as client or server on Advantech modules. SystemCORP offers most commonly used communication protocols such as IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5, DNP3, Modbus and JSON/MQTT as part of a standard communication library for SCADA and Cloud integration. An integrated IEC 61131 compliant programmable logic controller (PLC) extends the capability of the ADH as a true virtual SMART Grid device ready to be installed in distribution automation and smart gird projects.

For application configuration, the eNode Designer, IEC 61850 ICD Designer and IED Configurator tools simplify system engineering and result in reduction of project costs and implementation time. No special tools are required for establishing secure communication with cloud applications.

To know more visit our booth no H1/G2 at the IFEMA North Convention Centre. Address: IFEMA, Av. Partenón, Nº 5, 28042 Madrid, Spain. Entrance is free.

For any more information please check the event website:

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

When management thinks 100 trainees can do work of 3 fully qualified senior developers

A senior developer sent me the following link with the subject:

When management thinks 100 trainees can do work of 3 fully qualified senior developers

This statement and clip is very very true - in my training business I have experienced that in some cases training (regards IEC 61850 and other subjects) had to be paid by the attendee itself ... using annual vocation! Unbelievable!
This understanding is widespread in the utility domain, too ... students are hired (for low wages) to investigate and figure out how new technologies (especially digitalization) could be used ...
Hope you like the clip.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Prolan Offers One Of The First CLS "Steuerboxes" Based On IEC 61850

Prolan (based in Hungary) offers one of the first Steuerboxes according to the German FNN Specification "Steuerbox":

Prolan's own-developed and manufactured device offers a solution to German energy suppliers for tariff and power control and for regeneration of renewable power plants.
The device is connected to the new smart measuring system in Germany, called "Intelligent Messsysteme", one of its system elements.
  • The role of electricity distribution: the establishment of network balance by influencing decentralized energy producers and consumers.
  • Characteristic feature:  use of modern communication technologies (bidirectional communication, encrypted data transfer).
Click HERE for general information (EN)
HIER klicken für eine Broschüre (DE)
HIER klicken für eine Kurzinformation des VDE FNN (DE)

Monday, March 25, 2019

New TC 57 CDVs For Public Comments Posted

IEC TC 57 has posted two new CDVs for public comments (for everybody to read the document for free):

IEC 62351-3/AMD2 ED1: Amendment 2 - Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security -
Part 3: Communication network and system security - Profiles including TCP/IP 

57/2069/CDV (67 pages)
IEC 62351-8 ED1: Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security -
Part 8: Role-based access control 
This effort will transform the existing IEC TS 62351-8 ED1 from an IEC TS (Technical Specification) into an IS (International Standard) ED1
Excerpt from the Scope:
"The scope of this standard is to facilitate role-based access control (RBAC) for power system management. RBAC assigns human users, automated systems, and software applications (called “subjects” in this document) to specified “roles”, and restricts their access to only those resources, which the security policies identify as necessary for their roles.
As electric power systems become more automated and cyber security concerns become more prominent, it is becoming increasingly critical to ensure that access to data (read, write, control, etc.) is restricted. As in many aspects of security, RBAC is not just a technology; it is a way of running a business. RBAC is not a new concept; in fact, it is used by many operating systems to control access to system resources. Specifically, RBAC provides an alternative to the all-or-nothing super-user model in which all subjects have access to all data, including control commands. ..."
Be aware that RBAC is required in systems where multiple clients (in the sense of, e.g., IEC 61850) need to access a server. One use case is where multiple power market participants want to manage a power resource. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Smart Grid Interface Modul (SGIM) auf der Hannover Messe 2019

Vom 01. bis 05. April 2019 findet die Weltleitmesse der Industrie in Hannover statt.

beenergy SG zeigt eine interessante Neuheit:

Smart Grid Interface Modul (SGIM) für die Energieverteilung - 
unterstützt IEC 60870-5-104 und IEC 61850!

Die Sicherstellung der Verteilnetzfunktion  sowie kostenoptimierte strukturelle Anpassungen durch die Versorgungs-netzbetreiber erfordern ein fortlaufendes Messen und Überwachen der dynamischen Belastungen in den Verteilnetzen. Mit dem BeEnergy SG Smart Grid Interface Modul lassen sich in Verteilnetzen an neuralgischen Stellen einfach und kostengünstig Messpunkte realisieren.

Hier klicken und mehr Information finden.
Hier für eine Broschüre klicken

Treffen Sie die SGIM-Experten persönlich in Halle 13, Stand E81 (Efen GmbH).

Monday, March 18, 2019

IEC TC 57 Just Published IEC 61850-90-20 - Guideline to Redundancy Systems

IEC TC 57 Just Published 39 page document 57/2080B/DC

IEC TR 61850-90-20 ED1, Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 90-20: Guideline to redundancy systems

This part of IEC 61850 describes use cases of redundant systems.
The purpose of this document is to suggest how to model redundancy systems within the IEC 61850 domain and provide a guideline on implementation possibilities.
This report considers duplication of function and devices and not systems.
The report is not a guideline on the design of redundancy systems, guidance on designing
redundancy systems can be found in textbooks like
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Concepts, Design, Implementation by Kalus Schmidt, ISBN-10: 3540244603
  • Blueprints for High Availability: Designing Resilient Distributed Systems by Evan Marcus, ISBN-10: 0471356018
Comments to this draft are due by 2019-04-12 at the latest