Thursday, March 23, 2017

ASCII Text, XML, SCL, Models, and Errors All Over

IEC 61850 makes use of ASCII text, XML, SCL, and comprehensive Information Models. At any level you may find errors. How to figure out, e.g., if a DataSet member references a FCDA that is not available in any Logical Node model?

I run through the following inconsistency:
There is a DOType "SPG_0" defined that contains a fc="SP"(bottom).
The DO "SetPt19" uses this DOType with fc="SP" (above)
The marked DataSet member FCDA refers to DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST".

This reference is not correct - there is no DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST" !! How does a stack react when it has to parse such a wrong model? Hmm!

It took me some time to figure out what the issue was when I loaded the file onto a HMS Gateway with WEB-PLC:

In the meantime I have checked the wrong file with six (well known) IEC 61850 tools - NONE of them complained about this inconsistency.
The SystemCorp stack complained, because it was not able to find the referenced object to implement the model! WOW!

This example confirms what I always tell people in my courses: Develop your own simple tools for finding errors in the "ASCII Text" - it is just a simple search you need ... I am not saying that the many tools on the market are useless!! No way! But many simple checks could be done with simple tools. Even tool developer may not have a clue what kind of checks would be helpful.
In this case it would have been quite easy to check (ASCII search and comparison) all members of all DataSets and check in the Logical Node models if there is a DataObject that matches with the reference in the DataSet. Such a ASCII text search would have resulted in something like: Did not find an fc="ST" for the object "SetPt19".

It is that easy! Believe me.

My experiences with this and many other issues are one of the core topics in my courses.
Click HERE for courses in German in Karlsruhe/Germany.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GridEx: The Smart Tool to Test Your IEC 61850 Network

FMTP (From Minus to Plus, Sweden) has gained a lot of positive feedback from experts using the GridEx Tool around the globe. GridEx built-in intelligence based on 30 years combined field experience in Protection Control with IEC 61850.

The new Test Tool looks very ruggedized:

The standalone tool provides many very crucial functions for simplifying the test and operation of automation systems based on IEC 61850. Here is one example function:

Click HERE for more details on the GridEx.

CD published: Conformance Test Cases for the IEC 62351-5

IEC TC 57 just published a 110 page crucial document on security testing (57/1852/CD):

IEC TS 62351 - Data and communications security -
Part 100-1: Conformance test cases for the IEC 62351-5 and its companion standards for secure data exchange communication interfaces

Comments are welcome by 2017-06-09

The scope is to specify common available procedures and definitions for conformance and/or interoperability testing of the IEC/TS 62351-5 (Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives), the IEC/TS 60870-5-7 and also their recommendations over the IEC 62351-3 for profiles including TCP/IP. These are the security extensions for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives to enable unambiguous and standardised evaluation of IEC/TS 62351-5 and its companion standards protocol implementations.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BIG Data, Smart Data, or Fake Data

Do you trust the process data you rely on for decisions to be made for many different applications? Hmm! It may be - I hope you could trust the data.

BBC just published a crucial paper with the title:
"How fake data could lead to failed crops and other woes"

Click HERE for the paper.

I guess this has been said many times - not yet by everybody.
What is most important: You have to do something to protect the data you (or your device) produce - so that the receiver can trust that the data are not FAKE data.

Maybe we extend the quality details defined in IEC 61850-7-3:
fake (extended)

I am kidding ... sure.

Do you know that IEC 61850 does not define any measure to protect the data while they are on rest or travel? It's true - no crucial definitions on security. This is intended.
The series IEC 62351 defines many very crucial measures and describes how to apply them to power systems and IEC 61850 refers to IEC 62351:
IEC/TS 62351 - Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security:
Part 1: Introduction to security issues
Part 2: Glossary of terms
Part 3: Profiles Including TCP/IP
Part 4: Security for profiles including MMS
Part 5: Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives
Part 6: Security for IEC 61850 profiles
Part 7: Objects for Network Management
Part 8: Role-Based Access Control
Part 9: Key Management
Part 10: Security Architecture
Part 11: Security for XML Files
Part 12: Resilience and Security Recommendations for Power Systems with DER
Part 13: Guidelines on what security topics should be covered in standards and specifications

Check an overview from part 13:

Click HERE for the source of published parts of IEC 62351.
An excellent source of hints in German can be found at GAI NetConsult (Berlin).

You should do more than buying and reading the various parts of IEC 62351 - You should implement many of the crucial measures defined in these documents,

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Who can tell you what IEC 61850 really is?

Has ever someone learned what IEC 61850 really provides
from product presentations of vendors? Maybe to some extent?

How do people understand and learn what the standard series IEC 61850 really offers to the protection, automation and supervision of energy systems and what this all means for their application (as vendor, user, consultant, ...)?
A bit by reading power point presentations and papers ... and listen to presentations ... and to some extent by attending presentations and hands-on exercises conducted by equipment and tool vendors.
Is this enough?
If you are happy with the products - without understanding how far IEC 61850 is really implemented - then you could go and ... quite often at the end of the day you may learn that you got far to less

or far too much compared to what the standard would provide for your needs:

You need more vendor-independent information and experience from long-term experts like Andrea Bonetti (FMTP) or Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC). Sure, any demonstration or hands-on exercise of any IEC 61850 feature requires products like the great IEDScout of Omicron or ... BUT: the products implement just a fraction of what IEC 61850 is all about.
If you want to learn the Philosophy of IEC 61850 and compare it with the many different other approaches like IEC 60870-5-104, or other products, then you need independent information and experience. And finally you need to understand how the product X of vendor A compares to the product Y from vendor B.
To meet two of the most experienced experts and discuss with them your needs, doubts and complains, ... please register for the next training courses in Stockholm next week or in Karlsruhe in May.
Click HERE for the details of seminars in German.
Click HERE for the courses in English.
See you soon.
After the education of more than 4,000 attendees I know what people need ... and what they get by vendor-driven "education".

Saturday, March 4, 2017

XMPP, XML, and MMS: Two New TC 57 CDVs available for Public Comments

IEC TC 57 has published the following two CDV documents and allows you access to them:

IEC 61850-8-1/AMD1 ED2: Amendment 1 - Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-1: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mappings to MMS (ISO 9506-1 and ISO 9506-2) and to ISO/IEC 8802-3

IEC 61850-8-2 ED1: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP) 
You can study these two documents and provide comments.
Click HERE for the access (need to register only).
XMPP is used here to transport the XML message payloads between IEC 61850 server and client. The main contents of the messages are MMS messages (defined in ASN.1) and encoded with ASN.1 XER (XML encoding rule) - instead of ASN.1 BER (basic encoding rule). 
Example (excerpt):
Quite interesting. Most of what you have understood of MMS (subset used in IEC 61850-8-1) is applicable for 8-2 as well.
Click HERE for an introduction to ASN.1 and a discussion of why we need encoding rules.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IEC TC 57 and WG 10 in Figures

IEC TC 57 Working Group 10 "Power system IED communication and associated data models" met last week in Geneva (Switzerland) at the IEC central office.
Mr. Charles Jacquemart (IEC Technical Officer) presented some very interesting figures about the TC 57 and especially WG 10. The following slides are published here with the permission of Mr. Jacquemart.

TC 57 History:

Crucial Publications:

Various TC 57 Working Groups (250 members in WG 10!!):

IEC TC 57 WG 10 is the LARGEST WG in the whole IEC!!

Sales of IEC 61850 standards:

You are right, IEC 61850 is one of the most crucial standard series in IEC and also in the market of power systems!
More to come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Read One of the Best Papers on IEC 61850 ever Published

Eric A. Udren (a friend of mine) from Quanta Technology, LLC of Raleigh, North Carolina has written one of the best papers on the application of IEC 61850 in general and in the USA I ever read:

What Drives the Business Case for IEC 61850?
published in the December 2016 issue of the PAC World magazine.
This paper summarizes the experience of more than 10 years with the application of the standard series IEC 61850. It is a very easy to read and understand summary of the content of my training courses. After more than 230 training courses I conducted globally since 2003 and more than 4,200 experts educated in these courses I fully agree with the crucial recommendations of the paper:
Eric states at the very beginning (3rd sentence!): " ... one must first understand that IEC 61850 is not just a communications protocol." Well said. He lists many crucial facets.
The main part of Eric's conclusion is [highlights are added by myself]:
"The following action items can help the utility to achieve technical success and lowest life cycle costs:
  • Develop requirements for and relationships with product vendors, who must commit to support interoperable and sustainable products and designs over the service life of the PAC design.
  • Apply the sustainable design principles of the previous sections. If some of these seem unfamiliar, get expert help from vendors and from vendor-independent industry experts with experience in PAC system design and integration.
  • Create strong, rigid design standards; develop broadly useable documentation for new PAC design features like network configuration, data flows, and GOOSE messaging connections of functional points.
  • Set up rigid documentation and configuration management systems. With IEC 61850, much of the PAC design is no longer evident in the physical installation – this managed design information is the only tool to maintain the system.
  • Create a development laboratory to validate the performance of the design. Keep the laboratory throughout the installation life to train personnel, to troubleshoot bugs that arise in the field, and to test new product or firmware insertions in the existing design before authorizing those for field use.
  • Develop and run training programs for field maintenance personnel, including hands-on participation and feedback during the design and laboratory test phases.
  • Develop and run training programs for other enterprise stakeholders, including system planning, capital planning, purchasing, and operations teams.
  • After the pilot or trial phase, plan a crisp organizational transition to the new design at the fastest sustainable rate."
Click HERE to access the paper for free.

There have been a lot of misleading and strange statements on the benefits of IEC 61850 communicated ... trust the real experts like Eric Udren ...

One of the real show-stoppers of a beneficial application is the lack of education of many engineers. We offer the right experience and knowledge for your people to harvest the benefits of the application of IEC 61850 and other standards:

Click HERE for the latest announcements of courses in German.
Click HERE for the latest announcements of courses in English.

I look forward meeting you in one of the public courses or in an inhouse seminar. Peopleware is one of the most crucial issues in future energy systems.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

IEC-61850-Seminare in Deutsch (Mai und Dezember 2017)

NettedAutomation GmbH bietet in 2017 zwei IEC-61850-Seminare zu unschlagbaren Preisen in Karlsruhe an:

09.-12. Mai 2017 
05.-08. Dezember 2017

Die drei (3) Blöcke (1 Tag + 2 Tage + 1 Tag) können einzeln oder in Kombination gebucht werden. Sie entscheiden selbst, ob Sie nur einen Tag von Ihrem Arbeitsplatz fern bleiben möchten oder zwei, drei oder vier. Je nachdem, wieviel Zeit Sie investieren wollen oder können und welchen Bedarf Sie haben.

Lernen Sie, wie über 4.000 Teilnehmer vor Ihnen, was IEC 61850 und andere Normen wie IEC 60870-5-10x oder IEC 62351 (Security) bedeuten. Gewinnen Sie einen Einblick in relevante Realisierungen wie die FNN-Steuerbox oder VHPready, die auf IEC 61850 aufbauen. Verstehen Sie, wie Feldbusse über lostengünstige Gateways in die Anlagen eingebunden werden können.

HIER klicken, um zur Beschreibung und den Anmeldeunterlagen zu gelangen [pdf, 430 KB].

Beachten Sie auch, dass die meisten Seminare als Inhouse-Kurse stattfinden! Falls Sie Interesse an einem Inhouse-Kurs (in deutsch, englisch, italienisch oder schwedisch) haben sollten kontaktieren Sie uns bitte!

IEC TC 57 has Published Several New Documents

IEC TC 57 has published several new documents related to IEC 61850 and IEC 62351 (Security):

IEC 61850-7-3: Amendment 1 - Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 7-3: Basic communication structure - Common data classes
The amendment has been accepted with 100 % in favour

IEC 62351-9: Data and communications security –
Part 9: Cyber security key management for power system equipment
voting closes 2017-03-17

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part XXX: System management for IEC 61850 (proposed IEC 61850-XXX TS)
The new work item proposal has been accepted with 100 % in favour

IEC 61850-7-7: Basic communication structure – Machine-processable format of IEC 61850-related data models for tools
The new work item proposal has been accepted with almost 100 % in favour

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Seminar on Protection and Control in Stockholm (13-17 March 2017)

FMTP, KTH, OPAL RT, and NettedAutomation offer a very comprehensive training course on IEC 61850 and related standards at the FMTP Office Vingvägen 4:

190 60 Stockholm-Arlanda (Airport)
13-17 March 2017

Note that the same seminar will be conducted in Karlsruhe (Germany) on 02-05 May 2017 !!

Click HERE for details.

Click HERE for details.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wind Energy Generation Systems - About to Use and Extend SCL

IEC TC 88 (Wind energy generation systems) has just published a new work item proposal for the series IEC 61400-25 (Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants):

Part 25-7: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants –
Configuration description language for communication in wind automation systems related to IEDs

The voting closes 2017-04-21.

The scope of this NWIP is to describe the adoption of the System Configuration description Language (SCL) defined in IEC 61850-6 to the wind domain.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Animal "Attacks" on Power Systems - Worry About Squirrels

BBC news has published an interesting report on "Squirrel 'threat' to critical infrastructure".

According to the report "The real threat to global critical infrastructure is not enemy states or organisations but squirrels, according to one security expert.
Cris Thomas has been tracking power cuts caused by animals since 2013.
Squirrels, birds, rats and snakes have been responsible for more than 1,700 power cuts affecting nearly 5 million people, he told a security conference."

Click HERE to read the report.

Are You Looking for Authenticated Encrypted Time Signals?

GPS-based time signals could be less robust and reliable - this has been discussed in various forums. Electric power systems rely on time synchronization you can trust.

In a new US DOE project (TASQC - Timing Authentication Secured by Quantum Correlations) experts are planning to develop authenticated encrypted time signals that mitigate known vulnerabilities in GPS-based time. The project aims to:
  • Develop and demonstrate a secure time distribution system using quantum-correlated signals over geographically wide area;
  • Develop and demonstrate protocols for time-stamp authentication for data reported from power systems;
  • Expand capability of the developed infrastructure for secure authentication of broadcast messages;
  • Evaluate the system for cyber- and physical-vulnerabilities;
  • Partner with industry to develop timing requirements for power systems and to refine design of system and protocols.
Phil Evans, Ph.D., TASQC Principle Investigator, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, respectfully requests your assistance for the TASQC project by both answering the questions in a brief survey, and distributing it amongst your colleagues in the electric power industry.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

IEC TC 57 Published Several New IEC 61850 Documents

IEC TC 57 has published several new documents of the standard series IEC 61850 (Communication networks and systems for power utility automation):

IEC 61850-2: Glossary [57 pages]
Comments are required by 2017-04-07

IEC 61850-80-5: Guideline for mapping information between IEC 61850 and IEC 61158-6 (Modbus) [45 pages]
Comments are required by 2017-04-07

IEC 61850-7-2 A1 Ed.2: Abstract communication service interface (ACSI)
The CDV has been accepted.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

DTR IEC 61850-7-500: How to use IEC 61850 for SAS

IEC TC 57 has published a Draft Technical Report (57/1817/DTR; 84 pages) with guidelines on how to apply IEC 61850 for substation automation:

Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 7-500: Basic information and communication structure – Use of logical nodes for modeling application functions and related concepts and guidelines for substations

Voting closes 2017-02-17

This is a document that you MUST read when you are involved in substation automation.

This Technical Report of IEC 61850 describes the use of the information model for devices and functions of IEC 61850 in applications in substation automation systems but it may be used as informative input also for the modeling of any other application domain. In particular, it describes the use of compatible logical node names and data objects names for communication between Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED) for use cases. This includes the relationship between Logical Nodes and Data Objects for the given use cases. ...
Part 7-5 describes in examples the use of logical nodes for modeling application functions and related concepts and guidelines in general independently from any application domain respectively valid for all application domains in the electric power system (substation automation, distributed energy resources, hydro power, wind power, etc.). This part 7-500 describes in examples the use of logical nodes for application functions in substation automation including also line protection between substations. It implies also some tutorial material where helpful. But it is recommended to read parts IEC 61850-5 and IEC 61850-7-1 in conjunction with IEC 61850-7-3 and IEC 61850-7-2 first.

New: Modelling of Logics for IEC 61850 Based Applications

IEC TC 57 has published a very interesting proposal (57/1814/DC; 49 pages) for modelling logics:

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

Comments are expected by 2017-02-03

This part of IEC 61850 describes the methodologies for the modelling of logics for IEC 61850 based applications in power utility automation. In particular, it describes the functional view of logic based on existing logical nodes for generic process automation and the operational modes of the logic. Furthermore it includes the specification of the standard language to be applied to specific the logic as well as the related data exchange format between engineering tools and their application as well as the mapping of logic elements to IEC 61850 data types.

The IEC 61131-3 PLC programming language is used to describe syntax of functions.

Example PLD (Programmable Logic Description): The PLD file contains the logic unit program code in PLC OpenXML format, representing the description of the logic programmable scheme that can then be mapped to a GAPC LN instance. Excerpt:

... more to come next year.

Guideline for definition of Basic Application Profiles (BAPs) using IEC 61850

IEC TC 57 has published a document for comments (57/1813/DC, 27 pages) on application profiles::

Draft IEC TR 61850-7-6, Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 7-6: Guideline for definition of Basic Application Profiles (BAPs) using IEC 61850

Comments are expected by 2017-02-03

This guideline is focused on building Application / function profiles and specifies a methodology to define Basic Application profiles (BAPs). These Basic Application profiles shall provide a framework for interoperable interaction within or between typical substation automation functions. BAPs are intended to define a subset of mandatory features of IEC 61850 in order to increase interoperability in practical applications.

In the context of standards the term “profile” is commonly used to describe a subset of an entity (e.g. standard, model, rules).
Accordingly an IEC 61850 standard profile contain a selection of data models (mandatory elements), communication services applicable and relevant engineering conventions (based on the Substation Configuration Language SCL defined in IEC 61850-6) for an application function of a specific use case in the domain of power utility automation.
Depending on the scope and objective different profile types can be distinguished:

  • User profile – defined subset that is valid for a specific user / organization (e.g. utility)
  • Product / Device profile – implemented subset in a specific vendor product /device
  • Domain profile – defined subset for a specific domain and relevant use cases (e.g. monitoring of substation)
  • Application / function profile
A nice example is contained in Annex A:
Example for BAP of distributed automation function “reverse blocking” using BAP template