Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DOE spends US$ 615 Million for the Smart Grid Demonstration Program

The first presentation of the Session on "Interoperability for a Smart Grid" during the IEEE PES GA in Minneapolis yesterday (2010-07-26) was titled: "Interoperability and the Federal Role" (by Dan Ton; Chris Irwin and Steve Widergren).

Chris Irwin (a member of the Department of Energy team administering the Smart Grid
Investment Grants, and is responsible for standards and interoperability activities, including participation in the NIST-led Smart Grid Interoperability Framework) pointed out that INTEROPERABILITY of devices and systems is key for building a smarter grid: "... given the importance of a smart electric system to meet national economic, societal, and environmental
objectives, a federal role is taking shape in the United States to improve the integration of automation elements and thus make smart grid a reality."

He reported that the federal government will spend "US$ 615 million for the Smart Grid
Demonstration Programs
. ... To ensure that these investments have a lasting, positive effect to the nation, great attention is being given to address the interoperability".

The standards IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 are crucial standards in this context - also in North America. I talked yesterday to many conference attendees. Most of them are convinced that these standards will have a big impact on the devices and systems - in order to make them interoperable. Interoperability has first to be understood by smart people. Peopleware is key to the success of interoperability and smart(er) grids.

Click HERE to read the abstract of the paper.

Beck Chip with IEC 61850 in EV Charging Station

An electric vehicle charging station, designed by Rittal GmbH & Co (Herborn, Germany) and Beck IPC GmbH (Pohlheim, Germany) with IEC 61850 inside, is installed outside of the IBM Industry Solutions Lab in Ruschlikon, Switzerland.

This charging station is part of the EDISON project.

Click HERE for photo of the charging station at IBM.
Click HERE for more information on EDISON.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

3 Days until the Demo of Beck Chips implementing IEC 61850/61400-25 at IEEE PES GA in Minneapolis

In just 3 days Beck (Pohlheim, Germany - IEC 61850 Chip), SystemCorp (Perth, Australia - IEC 61850 software) and NettedAutomation (Karlsruhe, Germany - peopleware) will present the Beck Chip for IEC 61850 and provide free Beck's Beer.

The presentation and demonstration of a break-through implementation of the standards 61850 and IEC 61400-25 on a small footprint programmable microcontroller chip for simple to complex applications will show that these standards can be used right away ... the API can be used immediately by your C/C++ or IEC 61131-3 programs. Application examples come with the Development Kit (DK61). And the solutions are affordable!

SystemCorp will demonstrate a free of charge Evaluation DLL providing fully functional Client/Subscriber and Server/Publisher. The DLL supports 50 points that can be modeled with the ICD Designer. The demo DLL licence runs for 6 months - long enough to test IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25. You will get a USB memory stick with the DLL.

Where and when:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 18:00-21:00
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room 209B

Come in and learn the latest IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 technologies. You have also the chance to drop your business card and win one of the two DK61.

Karlheinz Schwarz (NettedAutomation) will be available for a meeting with you during the PES GA. Please contact me by posting a comment on this blog entry (at the end of this posting) and I will contact you. May be you will bump into me anyway on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

A photo of me may help you to find me:

Click HERE for my profile including a photo of myself
Click HERE for more details.
Click HERE for the Floor plan of Level 2 of the MCC.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to Spend $45 Billion for Smart Grids by 2015?

Estimated spending for Smart(er) Grids during the next five (5) years will be more than $45 Billion ( - according to a forecast.

Some "will be invested globally in the electrical Transmission and Distribution infrastructure through 2015, compared to $4.8 billion for the purchase and installation of smart meters. This infrastructure spending will focus on grid automation and control, distribution automation, distributed generation and demand response programs.”

If only five (5) per cent would go into smart(er) communication based on IEC 61850 then this would sum up to $ ($2 Billion) !! ... $ 400.000.000 per year.

Any question? ;-)

Hope there are enough smart engineers ...

Click HERE to read the news release from ABI.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Crucial Impact on Power System Automation

While the power industry is struggling with the retiring workforce as well as educating and recruiting power system engineers (see IEEE Power & Energy Magazine issue 7/8 2010) there are two other crucial influences on power systems on my radar screen:

  • Manufacturers of (non-utility) Industrial Automation Systems
  • Manufacturers of (non-utility) IP Network Infrastructures

Whoever wants to make his living from building a future Smart(er) Grids has to keep in mind that such smart(er) networks are power systems - that still need being designed, build, operated, and maintained by smart power system engineers.

The 11th VDI Congress on Automation Technology in Baden-Baden (Germany) May 2010 had a very interesting motto "Leading through Automation". Manufacturers of products and systems for industrial Automation applications are proud of their success in automation of factories (car production, machines of any kind, chemical processes, ...). There was not that much to automate in the power (distribution and distributed generation) systems - so far. That seems to change all in a sudden: The discussions and activities in the domain of power systems to implement smart(er) grids has infected the industrial automation experts.

During the last 20 years there was very little automation in the power industry influenced by factory automation vendors and their solutions. This will change in a fast pace: One of the leading experts (Roland Bent, CEO of Phoenix Contact) stated during the VDI Congress that the market for automation systems in the utility domain (electric power, water, ..., clean and green technologies) will be three times bigger in 2030 than today's factory automation.

There is the second crucial influence on the future of utility systems: The industry that offers the IP Network infrastructure for smart(er) grids. Read how, e.g., CISCO sees the future: "The smart grid promises a more efficient way of supplying and consuming energy. In essence, the smart grid is a data communications network ...".

CISCO states also that IEC 61850 plays a major role in the future: "The existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and remote terminal unit (RTU) systems located inside the substation cannot scale and evolve to support next generation intelligence. Since flexible IEC 61850–compliant intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) and utility-grade
rugged IP routers and Ethernet switches have become more widely available, many utilities are now ready to transform their communications networks from serial to IP-based communications." With a single standard they can sell their standard-compliant products all over! They do not need to develop and maintain tenth of solutions. This benefit of a single protocol stack (IEC 61850) is also what IBM and other IT companies like.

Click HERE for the white paper from CISCO on their vision to build smart(er) grids.

So, the utility industry will soon see a lot of new solutions offered by companies experienced mainly in non-utility markets. I hope that the management in the utility domains understand that the future of the utility systems must be controlled by smart power system engineers!! And not mainly influenced by the focus on share holder value, general automation and network infrastructure.

The future of the automation in the smart(er) grids requires TEAMWORK of many disciplines - led by smart power engineers. One of the crucial tasks is to get more education on topics like Network Infrastructure and IEC 61850 for power engineers. Since IEC 61850 is much more than any of the field busses or DNP3 it requires comprehensive education by well experienced trainers.

The power engineers have to take care that the utility automation systems will not be flooded by a myriad of field busses from the industrial automation domain (see discussion on IEC Fieldbus). Getting cheap automation devices with one of the many different fieldbusses does not automatically mean to get low life-cycle cost!

Smart People are the most crucial asset for Smart Power Systems

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Does IEC 61850 provide Security Measures? - Yes

Some people had a concern that IEC 61850 does not define security measures. This is only half-way correct.

The fact is that IEC 62351 defines the Security for IEC 61850! IEC 61850 references IEC 62351. So, don't worry. Even the Beck Chip for IEC 61850 provides standard security.

IEC 62351-3:
Data and communications security: Communication network and system security – Profiles including TCP/IP

IEC 62351-4:
Data and communications security: Profiles including MMS

Part 3 specifies how to secure TCP/IP-based protocols through constraints
on the specification of the messages, procedures, and algorithms of Transport Layer Security (TLS) (defined in RFC 2246) so that they are applicable to the telecontrol environment of IEC TC 57. It is intended that this specification be referenced as a normative part of other IEC TC 57 standards that have the need for providing security for their TCP/IP-based protocol.

Click HERE for a preview of part 3.

Part 4 specifies procedures, protocol extensions, and algorithms to facilitate
securing ISO 9506 – Manufacturing Message Specification (MMS) based applications. It is intended that this technical specification be referenced as a normative part of other IEC TC 57 standards that have the need for using MMS in a secure manner.
This technical specification represents a set of mandatory and optional Security specifications to be implemented for applications when using ISO/IEC 9506 (Manufacturing Message Specification).

Click HERE for a preview of part 4.

IEC61850@Chip – Presentation of the break-through solution during IEEE PES GM in Minneapolis, MN, on the evening of July 28, 2010

Power System Communication Committee Event
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 18:00-21:00 MCC 209B
IEC 61850-on-a-Chip  – Presentation and demonstration of a break-through implementation of the Standard 61850 on a small footprint programmable microcontroller chip for simple to complex applications by Beck IPC (Pohlheim, Germany)

Beck IPC (Pohlheim, Germany) invites to a Presentation and Demonstration of the low cost Beck Chip implementing IEC 61850 (IEC 61400-25):

Location: IEEE PES GM, Minneapolis Convention Center
Room: 209 B (Level Two)
Date and time: Wednesday, 28 July 2010, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Food and drinks will be provided.

The IEC 61850 standard is the most successful standard for protection and substation automation communication for both HV and MV. The standard is intended to be used in centralized and distributed power generation as well as in distribution automation.

The high cost for the implementation of IEC 61850 is one of the crucial reasons the standard is currently being used in relatively few applications in DER systems and low voltage applications. Since the Hanover Fair 2010 (Hanover/Germany) in April 2010 this has been changed completely: A powerful and low price embedded and freely programmable Microcontroller implementing IEC 61850 has been demonstrated – the IPC@CHIP®.

The development of affordable standards-conformant interfaces for distributed energy resources can now be shortened from months or even years to days or weeks.

At this Wednesday evening event we will discuss the range of all crucial Beck IPC products (Chips, modules, Development kits, …) and related products, e.g., IEC 61850, Modbus, IEC 60870-5, and DNP3 stack software from SystemCorp (Perth, Australia):.

Click HERE for more details.
Click HERE for the Floor plan of Level 2 of the MCC.

Please drop by to view the demonstration and discuss with the experts from Beck, SystemCorp and NettedAutomation - this event may accelerate your development of IEDs that speak IEC 61850 (IEC 61400-25).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

IEC 61850 at IEEE PES Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Europe

Date and Location:

October 10-13, 2010 Chalmers Lindholmen, Gothenburg, Sweden

The first Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) Europe, is sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) and hosted by Chalmers University of Technology. The Conference will be a forum for the participants to discuss the state-of-the-art innovations in smart grid technologies. The Conference will feature paper sessions, panels and tutorials by international experts on smart grid. The organizing committees invite researchers, practitioners, decision makers and students, worldwide to participate and submit papers!

Tutorial 3 will be about IEC 61850.

Implementation of the standards IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25 in small devices (14:15-15:15) by Karlheinz Schwarz ... See you there.

Click HERE for the program of the tutorial 3 on IEC 61850.
Click HERE for an overview on all three tutorials.
Click HERE to visit the conference home page

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Catalog of Control Systems Security: Recommendations for Standards Developers

The US Homeland Security has published a comprehensive list of recommendations for System Security of Control Systems like SCADA systems the other day.

Hope your system is secure - and hope that you have people you can trust ...

Click HERE for the 171 page list [pdf].

IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 2: Insulation Medium Supervision Liquid Logical Node (SIML)

The edition 2 of IEC 61850-7-4 has new Logical Nodes (LN) and existing LNs that have been cleaned up. One of these LNs is the LN SIML (Insulation Medium Supervision Liquid).

The new Data Objects (DO) defined in Edition 2 are marked in yellow. One DO (marked in red) has changed its name from "H2" to "H2ppm".


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

IEC 61850 Information Models for Large Power Plants

Experts defining and using IEC 61850 for hydro power plants are working on the second edition IEC 61850-7-410 (Hydroelectric power plants – Communication for monitoring and control). This second edition will comprise quite comprehensive models for large power plants - the device models cover more or less the whole electrical side, while the mechanical side covers only hydro power plants.

It is intended to use the existing definitions of the electrical side (Power System Stabilizer functions, complete excitation systems, other controls, ...) for other Large (non-hydro) Power Plants. And further it is intended to convince experts of non-hydro Power Plants to start working on extended/new models for mechanical components of large plants.

Please post a comment (see below) on the above.

IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2 approved

IEC 61850-7-2 Edition 2: "Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 7-2: Basic information and communication structure - Abstract communication service interface (ACSI)" has been approved  for publication as International Standard Edition 2 on July 02, 2010.

This edition 2 adds some minor new definitions, corrects errors of the first edition and aligns the content with other parts, e.g., 8-1. Here is a list of the most crucial issues:

  • class diagrams have been updated (the modeling method is quite close to an UML model)
  • data types not required have been removed, new types have been added,
  • errors and typos haven been corrected (see tissue database),
  • substitution model has been moved to IEC 61850-7-3,
  • service tracking for control blocks have been added; in edition 1 it was possible to treat control block instances in the same way as Data Objects. This has been changed - from a modeling point of view only. T
  • the view concept (access restriction) will be implemented with the new work on role bases access (RBA) as part of IEC 62351-8,
  • security issues are solved by the IEC 62351 series, and
  • several terms have been harmonized with those defined in other parts

Part 7-2 contains the basic definitions of the models and the services:


Saturday, July 3, 2010

NIST Smart Grid Architecture and Interoperability Standards - What has been accomplished?

The "Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation" of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the NIST Smart Grid activities with regard to Interoperability Standards.

Read what the Witnesses have said:

  • Dr. George Arnold: National Coordinator for Smart Grid, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Mr. Mason Emnett: Associate Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Mr. John McDonald: Director of Technical Strategy and Policy Development, GE Energy
  • Mr. Conrad Eustis: Director of Retail Technology Development, Portland General Electric
  • Ms. Lillie Coney: Associate Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center

A remarkable statement was made by Dr. George Arnold: "The basic structure of the present grid has changed little over its hundred-year history. The U.S. grid, which is operated by over 3100 electric utilities using equipment and systems from hundreds of suppliers, has historically not had much emphasis on standardization and thus incorporates many proprietary interfaces and technologies that result in the equivalents of stand-alone silos.
Transforming this infrastructure
into an interoperable system
capable of supporting the nation’s vision of extensive distributed and renewable resources, energy efficiency, improved reliability and electric transportation may well be described by future generations as the first great engineering achievement of the 21st century."

One of THE KEY prerequisites for a smooth transformation is Peopleware - Only smart and well educated people can transform the system! Education usually has a low priority in the utility industry. Usually IT people in the utilities do not much care about monitoring, protection and control of the electric grid - may be they fear he high voltage ;-)

I have trained more than 2,000 people on IEC 61850 all over. Just a very few IT people have attended. IT people usually lack understanding the electrical network. Many protection and control engineers have a good knowledge of information and communication technologies. Even Smarter Grids will be electrical networks.

In January 2010 I conducted a 3-day training on IEC 61850 for 30 experts in Reykjavik (Iceland). Iceland's population is some 300,000. Germany has a population of some 80,000,000. If I would train the same percentage of people in Germany I would need a soccer stadium for 8,000 attendees (for the U.S. I would need some 30,000 seats). That would not be problem: Just do it ... like in Bangalore (India) for 350 attendees in 2006:

Click HERE for a brief report on the Bangalore event.

One show-stopper of the success of Interoperability Standards like IEC 61850 is the behavior of some employees from well known vendors making statements like: "Dear user, you do not need understand IEC 61850 ... we do everything for you ... ". Another is the time and effort people have to invest to implement and use interoperable systems based on IEC 61850. With IEC 61850 running on a Chip and an affordable Development Kit experts can right start to use IEC 61850 and link their application to the IEC 61850 models, services and configuration language. Since the Kit is available (March 2010) I use several Kits for Hands-on Training.

Click HERE to get details on the Development Kit, Beck IPC (Pohlheim/Germany).
Click HERE on some discussion on Peopleware.

Click HERE for the Hearing Charter, Opening Statements and all Witness Statements

Friday, July 2, 2010

IEC 61850 IEDScout - Version 2.11 Available

Omicron has posted a new version (2.11) of their IEC 61850 IEDScout.

The new version supports Windows 7 (64 bit and 32 bit); some modifications resolve minor issues.

Click HERE to go to the IEDScout web page.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

GE Promotes International Standards like IEC 61850

John D. McDonald (P.E. Director, Technical Strategy and Policy Development Digital Energy GE Energy) - well known in the power industry - reported on the ongoing efforts under NIST SGIP to accelerate the definition and use of (international) Standards for information and communication to make the electric grid smarter.

According to John McDonald, the transformation of "our grid into a more automated, interactive and intuitive power delivery system has began. Crucial to this undertaking are system architecture and standards, the foundation for bringing together the electrical and communications infrastructure and for evolving technology to meet many and disparate needs. System architecture and standards that foster interoperability provide a framework for development, a roadmap for progress and a catalyst for continued industry investment." He is right in stating that "The Smart Grid will be a system of interoperable systems."

He gives an overview of the work of the 16 PAPs and talks about the lack of use of international standards, mainly due to the lack in awareness of the standards like IEC 61850.

Mr. McDonald states also: "In the USA, the transition from DNP 3.0 to IEC 61850 for substation automation and communications is an excellent example of the challenge we have before us. IEC 61850 calls for sending protection messages over Ethernet local area networks (vs. dedicated copper wires) and accessing measurements via a central process bus (vs. wired to the individual relays). These relatively small technology changes, but large process and cultural changes, have resulted in continued performance with substantial savings for those deploying this new technology worldwide. But there is enough concern and resistance to these changes here in the USA that IEC 61850 is not yet widely accepted or deployed."

Some 3 years ago I did a half day seminar on IEC 61850 for a North American utility. Half a year later I asked the engineer that had invited me: "How is IEC 61850 doing in your utility?" He answered: "Hmm, we are still two retirements away". This year he responded to the same question: "We are just one retirement away." What's about the young engineers? Let them learn what they need. Vattenfall (the biggest Scandinavian utility) recommends to utilities and vendors (and of course the system integrators) to do much more education and training on IEC 61850!!

Click HERE for the statement from Vattenfall.

Click HERE for the complete testimony of John McDonald (GE).

Danish Power System with 50 per cent Wind Energy - with the help of IEC 61400-25

The Danish TSO Energinet is challenged by several questions like:

  • How should the Danish power system be designed to securely handle 50 % wind power generation?
  • What technical solutions can offer necessary system services in such a system? And how can the electricity market be designed to support the power system?
  • Can Denmark expect neighboring countries to provide the present or even an increased contribution to our growing need for resources to balance supply and demand?
  • And what can we do to mitigate the dependency on neighbors resources and interconnections?

The EcoGrid.dk project was initiated to find the best solutions to meet these requirements. One key issue is the information and communication technologies. Since Denmark is one of the key countries involved in the definition of the IEC Standard IEC 61400-25 (Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants ) it is no surprise that the report on phase 1 states:

The international "communication standard for wind power is IEC61400-25: the standard will provide a critical measure to manage the rapidly growing wind power penetration – such a standard can really make a difference. Through communication standards the current state of the individual wind plant can be controlled and monitored when required, and counter measurements can be enforced if needed, in order to meet the changing demand for energy and to provide support to the overall power system operation."

Click HERE for the complete Report on phase 1.

Click HERE for more information on EcoGrid.dk.

IEEE 1815 DNP3 - Old Wine in New Wineskins

IEEE announced on June 28, 1010, that a "Collaboratively developed Distributed Network Protocol standard set to benefit worldwide Smart Grid, process automation industries". What is meant is the old standard DNP3 with a new brand label: IEEE 1815.

IEEE has ratified the IEEE 1815 Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3) standard. The new standard, which improves device interoperability and strengthens security protocols, was fast-tracked for completion and was delivered in only seven months; i.e. re-labeled. The development of DNP3 was done many years ago.

Click HERE for the full press release from IEEE.

Click HERE for the PAR that lead to the IEEE 1815.