Monday, December 23, 2013

Best wishes for 2014

As a very busy year comes to an end, I want to THANK YOU ALL for the interest in Standards like IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25, IEC 60870-5-104, … as well as your interest to discuss the many opportunities to use these standards and the challenges in the implementations and conformance tests.

More than 400 experts have been trained during 2013 in more than 20 courses all over. The attendees are really looking for more details and how to reach a higher level of interoperability. My long-term experience is growing quite fast … especially in the area of interoperability issues …

I wish you a healthy and successful year 2014 – especially that you can live in peace with your family, friends and all other people you have to meet in your life.

I look forward to working with you next year … especially when you have any issue regarding IEC 61850, IEC … interoperability.

Please take some time to relax and re-charge your batteries.

We are all doing fine … just cut the lawn this afternoon (Dec. 23, 2013) … it was quite warm here in Karlsruhe: 13 °C … no snow and ice until 2014 !!

Best Regards,
Your Karlheinz Schwarz

SystemCorp Embedded Technology offers Support for IEC 61850 Edition 1 and Edition 2

This is a real good Christmas present: Version 2 of the IEC 61850 Protocol Integration Stack (PIS-10) from SystemCorp is now available!

Version 2 offers support for IEC 61850 Edition 1 and Edition 2 of the core documents (parts 6, 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 7-410, 8-1, …). The solution supports users to integrate Server and Client as well as publisher and subscriber functionality into their own applications easily.

Click HERE for more details.

A new ICD Designer is available as well - new Features are:

  • Add customized logical nodes
  • Edition 1 and Edition 2 Support
  • Export/Import DAID templates
  • GOOSE Subscription - compatible with Siemens DIGSI 
  • Multiple Access Point
  • Unicode Support
  • Client CID File Designer
  • Quick Validate* function for design

Click HERE for more details of the new ICD Designer.

NettedAutomation is preparing updated and enhanced demonstration examples for the PIS-10 DLL and for the Beck IPC@Chip platform by mid of January 2014.

Stay tuned to this blog to get the latest information also in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Workshop IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 und IEC 60870-5-104 am 30. Januar 2014

IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 und IEC 60870-5-104 in Aktion:

Beck IPC lädt zu einem Workshop “com.tom-Anwendungen für Überwachungs- und Steuerungsaufgaben“ am 30.01.2014 ein

Beck IPC bietet auf der Basis der Beck IPC com.tom-Geräte einen short-time-to-market Schnelleinstieg in die Normenreihen IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 und IEC 60870-5-104. Wenn Sie die geballte Kombination von bewährten Technologien wie embedded controller sowie genormtem und sicherem Informationsaustausch für den einfachsten, schnellsten und kostengünstigsten Einstieg in diese und andere Normen kennenlernen möchten, dann besuchen Sie am 30. Januar 2014 diesen Workshop.

Die Lösungen sind geeignet für alle Anwendungen, in denen sowohl separate Protokolle benötigt werden als auch für Gateways zwischen den verschiedenen Protokollen.

Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos.

Der Workshop wird von Beck IPC in Zusammenarbeit mit NettedAutomation GmbH durchgeführt.

Ort: Wetzlar | Zeit: 10:00 Uhr – 16:00 Uhr

Klicken Sie hier für das Programm und die Anmeldeinformation

IEC 61400-25-2 Edition -- Committee Draft for Vote available

IEC 61400-25-2 Edition 2 (88/461/CDV):
Wind turbines – Part 25-2: Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants – Information models

The Committee Draft for Vote is out for comments until January 24, 2014. If you want to comment on the document, please contact your TC 88 National Committee: Membership 

The main improvements are related to the following aspects:

  • Harmonization with Common Data Classes in Edition 2 of IEC 61850-7-3.
  • Harmonization with Logical node classes in Edition 2 of IEC 61850-7-4.
  • Harmonization with Information models in IEC 61850-7-410, and -420.
  • Reduction of overlap between standards and simplification by increased referencing
  • Extension of Data objects for operation of smart grids (in US and other areas)
  • Extended and enhanced semantics for existing data objects
  • Taking the tissues into account

A complete harmonization with IEC 61850 is underway. As a matter of fact you could implement all crucial aspects of IEC 61400-25 with current IEC 61850 implementations. The full harmonization of IEC 61400-24-2 with IEC 61850 Edition 2 of the core parts (7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 8-1, …) is planned as a next step (edition 3 of IEC 61400-25-2).

IEC 61850 and IEC61400-25 are THE standard series for Power Systems.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Vulnerabilities in RuggedCom ROS-based Devices

RuggedCom switches and serial-to-Ethernet devices are used to connect devices that operate in harsh environments such as electric utility substations and traffic control cabinets.
Potential vulnerabilities in the web server’s authentication of the affected products might allow attackers to gain administrative access to the web interface over the network without authentication or unprivileged users to perform privilege escalation.

- RuggedCom devices with ROS version < ROS v3.12.2

RuggedCom and Siemens recommend upgrading to the current firmware version ROS v.3.12.2 which fixes the potential vulnerabilities.

Click HERE for more details.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

BSI veröffentlicht ICS-Security-Kompendium für industrielle Automatisierungssysteme

Das Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) hat ein umfangreiches Kompendium zur Sicherheit in industriellen Automatisierungssystemen (ICS) veröffentlicht. Das Kompendium sollte jedem systemverantwortlichen Manager unbedingt als Weihnachtsgeschenk überreicht werden! Warum? Weil es einen Überblick über wichtige Notwendigkeiten und Lösungswege für mehr Sicherheit aufzeigt und das Bewusstsein für die zunehmenden “Angriffe” auf die kritischen Infrastrukturen unserer Gesellschaft schärfen will. Das Kompendium eignet sich sicher für den Einstieg in dieses wichtige Thema!

Es darf natürlich nicht beim Lesen bleiben – je nach Situation sollten zeitnahe Aktivitäten starten oder verstärkt werden.

HIER Klicken um das Kompendium herunterzuladen.

Monday, November 25, 2013

TQ System offers new IEC 61850 Demo Kit

TQ System offers new IEC 61850 Demo Kit for an ARM9 module with i.MX28 from Freescale.

Click HERE to see the details of the platform.

The Manual of the Development Kit gives you some hints on the usability for getting started:

IEC 61850 Server/Client Application Demo for TQ Systems

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reduced the Complexity of IEC 61850 to a Beautiful Simplicity

One of the crucial challenges using IEC 61850 is the complexity of IEC 61850 – maybe you have made this experience. There is a beautiful way to simplify. Interested to learn about this way? Read this post.

  • IEC 61850 and IEC 60870-5-104 (DNP3) are well known and used standards for many application domains all over.
  • IEC 60870-5-104 and DNP3 are the preferred solutions for Tele-Control and Tele-Monitoring. They provide simple exchange of status, measurements, counters, and control commands.
  • These protocols are implemented in most control centers and SCADA systems.
  • IEC 61850 is the preferred solution for information management for substation protection, monitoring, and automation.
  • The need for collecting more condition monitoring information from process equipment like transformers, switch gears, cable, … is preferably implemented by IEC 61850.
  • One crucial challenge is: How can the huge amount of IEC 61850 based information easily be carried by IEC 60870-5-104 (DNP3)?
  • A set of slides shows the beauty of a very simple and powerful gateway.

Want to see a live demo? Visit us at the SPS/IPC/Drives Fair in Nuremberg (Germany) on November 28-29, 2013, hall 9 / booth 341.


Click HERE for a free ticket. I look forward to meeting you there.
Click HERE for the complete slide set on the Beautiful Simplicity [68 pages, pdf, 3.9 MB].


The solution is based on the Beck IPC@CHIP solution:


The core component is a WEB-PLC that is used to graphically program your Gateway based on Input and Output signals:


(almost) all you need to do is to connect graphically Inputs and Outputs with each other or other logic (AND, OR, …):


Use the WEB-PLC for binary inputs and outputs or for reporting of measured values:


com.tom Energy Flyer [English]
com.tom Energy Flyer [Deutsch]

Any question? Contact us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do we need Blackouts to Expose Flaws in the Grid?

From the viewpoint of a engineers: No! There are many engineers or other technicians that are aware of the condition of the whole system – including the aging work force. From the viewpoint of many people in charge to make decisions to invest or not to invest: Yes!

The New York Times published yesterday an article about the biggest power outage in the history of Northern America: the 2003 blackout. Since then a lot has improved – enough to keep the power flowing at mid November 2013. Is it enough for the years to come? We will see if the improvements payoff or not.

The article states: “The improvements were ideas that engineers had always liked, but had trouble persuading utility executives and public service commissions to pay for.”

Click HERE to read the article.

I hope that the voice of the engineers will convince more decision-makers to allocate sufficient resources for keeping the aging power infrastructure running, the power flowing, the grass green, and the sky blue.

Some 10 years after the first substation automation systems have been equipped with IEC 61850 based devices, a lot of smart engineers see the need to invest into defining a second layer on top of the standards and the many options they provide. This second layer could be named: Interoperability Profile Specifications. The standards comprise several hundred of options (in models, services, and extensions) that lead to a proliferation of implementations. A growing number of engineers is struggling to let two or more devices from multiple vendors understand each other.

I look forward to seeing more decision-makers from all stake-holders to provide the needed resources for the development of Interoperability Profile Specifications.

I always say in my courses that IEC 61850 is very scalable – BUT YOU have to SCALE each and every device! Scaling needs to be done in a way that for a given application ALL devices apply THE VERY SAME SCALE!! The scales have to be negotiated and applied by all participants of a system.

When does the users community want to get there? If the answer is: as soon as possible – you should invite experienced people to help you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Is Security really a big Issue in the Power Industry?

It all depends on to whom you listen. I have discussed the security issue quite often. Hope that some people have listened to me. ;-)

These days you can see a lot of intensified discussions related to the use of DNP3 and especially the application at the control center (or master) side of the communication channel. One IED talks usually to one master station – but: One master station may talk to many many IEDs. DNP3 master stations are centralized components in SCADA systems used in many industries: power, gas, oil, water, waste water, … in general automation.

One of the crucial issues is that it seems quite easy to send a specific message from a control center (master) to the substation to put the slave (RTU) into a infinite loop condition (blocking further information sharing) or a spontaneous message from a substation to the control center to put the master into infinite a loop condition (blocking further information sharing). In both cases the devices must be shut down and restarted.

Click HERE to read one of the latest discussions.

I experienced recently the following: an IEC 61850 Server sent a report message with a value derived from a DataSet member of type FCDA to a client (in a gateway for a big control system, DCS). The client (client application) stopped working properly … just did not react anymore. As a result the client did not only “refuse” to work with this server – it also stopped communicating with other servers it was connected to.

Hm, by reporting just a value from a FCDA member (LN XX FC=ST DO=Pos DA=stVal) instead from a FCD member (LN XX FC=ST DO=Pos  with three DA components: stVal, q and t) the client (client application) gives up to work … what a surprise. I was really surprised!

One solution to overcome this situation could be to require more conformance tests of clients (and servers!). That would help a lot.

BUT at the end of the day you may run into similar issues even if the client has been successfully conformance tested and certified: The clients and servers implementing IEC 61850 will support a subset of the features the standard defines. Independent of a certificate it would be more important to get a document that lists all the restrictions and specialties of a client or a server. If you know that a client crashes when you report a value from a FCDA member of a DataSet, then you could (at least) work around that problem by just configuring FCD members!

Figuring out that the use of a FCDA member causes a gateway to crash may take days of analysis and discussions … and is produces a lot of frustration before, during and after such a process.

Lesson learned: Clients, Server, Publisher and Subscriber have to come not only with a certificate but also with comprehensive documentation.

Dear Utility user: ask for sufficient documentation! We could help you to analyze the documentation to figure out …

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IEC Smart Grid Tool now online

The IEC Central Office has published a comprehensive tool to facilitate identification and access to relevant standards for use cases and implementation of Smart Grid. This tool includes links to IEC standards as well as relevant standards from other organizations. The smart grid tool available at will be useful for all other IEC groups engaged in systems level work.

You will find IEC 61850 all over on that “map” – no surprise.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Open positions in the US related to IEC 61850

It seems that there is a growing interest in applying IEC 61850 in the United States. At least there are tenth of open positions that require knowledge and experience in IEC 61850.

One states for example: “Experience with IEC 61850 compliant substation automation applications including IED configuration utilizing MMS and GOOSE protocols and network architectures.”

Click HERE for an updated list of open positions related to IEC 61850.

More to come.

Security Measures in Power Grids – often ignored

Vulnerabilities in the automation of power grids are more often on the radar screen of information and control system experts. It seems that some people are using the situation of aging infrastructures to make money with finger-pointing to the vulnerabilities of implementations of protocols like DNP3 or others. Or is it just fun to discover “holes” in the often low level secured information and communication systems?

Click HERE for a report (Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown) in The New York Times.

There are – in my view – two crucial issues (among other) when it comes to security measures for information exchange systems in power systems:

1. Lack in Expertise
2. Lack in Resources

There are a lot of discussions regarding aging infrastructures these days. I hope the discussions will have a real impact of securing our infrastructures, especially the electrical power system delivery systems!

Open standard protocols allow remote access to a lot of critical systems like substations or power generation sites. ENEL (Italian Power Company) operates some 400.000 Substations worldwide – some 100.000 are remotely monitored. So, 300.000 substations cannot be reached by protocols. Hundreds of protocols may be in use in the power industry. This makes it quite hard to easily break into most of the substations worldwide. With the application of standards like IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3, Modbus IP, or IEC 61850 this will change soon.

The most secure protocol is the protocol that has never implemented or used! With the acceptance of a few open protocols it is quite obvious that security measures HAVE to be put in place to secure the information exchange to some reasonable degree!

Stakeholders of power utilities have to become MORE aware of the situation of the vulnerabilities in the automation of power grids! A aging bridge may be closed – and you have to detour a bit … but a blackout of a part of the electrical power delivery system due to a lack in security may end in a crucial disaster, leaving us out of power for hours and even days.

It is worth to spend more time and resources in securing all our infrastructures – first of all the electric power delivery system. Without power: no telecommunications, no transportation, no …

The well known IEC 61850 platform “BECK IPC Chip” used in many applications provides secure communication as integrated part of the real-time operating system!

It is not sufficient to know that IEDs are available that provide a reasonable level of security: YOU MUST understand and USE such solutions!!

The architecture of the chip includes security measures:


Click HERE to request more information on the security measures implemented in the RTOS and applicable for IEC 6870-5-104 and IEC 61850.

There is no need to wait for secure IEC 61850 communication! It is here.

New IEC 61850/UCAIUG Test Labs accredited

17 Aug 2013
Level A - IEC 61850 Server
Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI)
111, Hanggaul-ro, Sangnok-gu, Ansan-si,
Gyeonggi-do, 426-910, Republic of Korea

15 Oct 2013
Level A - IEC 61850 Client
Korea Testing Laboratory
87, Digital 26-gil, Guro-gu, Seoul, Korea

15 Oct 2013
Level A - IEC 61850 Conformance Testing for Edition 2 Server Products
KEMA Nederland B.V.
Utrechtseweg 310
6812 AR Arnhem

The number of tested and certified IEDs (2013-10-18):

  33 Clients (Ed1)
367 Server (Ed1)
   2 Server (Ed2)
  11 Merging Units (9-2LE)

Monday, October 14, 2013

World Standards Day 2013 – October 14

Did you know that there is a world standards day? I didn’t!

I searched a bit and found a nice web page:

The results of the World Standards Day 2013 poster competition encouraged me to discuss a bit time and power!

The first price was won by Frederica Scott Vollrath (Germany):

This is really describing what IEC 61850 does: let the power flow through a lot of interrelated gear wheels.

It is one of the most interesting, albeit most challenging aspects of the future power system development because there must be a guarantee that all aspects and tasks of the functions and information sharing services will mesh together like the teeth of gear wheels!!

Well done poster!!

I visited the other day a museum with several of our grand sons (Dynamikum). We saw the following set of 18 gear wheels:


The top wheel is driven by a motor with 250 rpm and 26.5 Watt:


The motor drives the first wheel (large), the first (small) drives the second (large), and so on.


The questions are:

How long does it take until the 18. (last) wheel turns one (1!!) time? How much energy is consumed by the motor during that time?

It takes 3 Million years!!


The motor would consume

26,5 W x 365 x 24 x 3,000,000 h =
7 x 10**2 GWh or
0.7 TWh

That would cost some 128 Million Euro at 0.2 Euro/kwh

Without IEC standards it would be much more expensive! Or?

Friday, October 11, 2013

IEC 61850 and DC

IEEE invites all interested parties to contribute to the development of a plan "DC in the Home" to ensure that DC electricity can be safely and conveniently accessed in homes, eliminating the wasteful conversion of AC to DC, and in many cases, DC to AC, prior to entering the home.

This seems to be an interesting question. I guess people digging into this issue will – some time down the street – start discussing a DC communication standard. Is this required? I guess it is not needed.

IEC 61850 could already be applied as well for DC systems. IEC 61850 defines many models for, e.g., PV inverter, batteries, storage systems, DC protection, … DC measurements.

As an example see the logical node MMDC defined in IEC 61850-7-4 Ed2:


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Utility cuts IT workforce, hires Indian outsourcers

Northeast Utilities (NU) in Connecticut (USA) confirmed plans to outsource IT work to India-based outsourcers; move will affect some 200 jobs

Northeast Utilities confirmed the other day that it plans to turn over part of its IT operations to two India-based outsourcing firms, despite a recent push by state lawmakers to keep it from doing so.

NU says it employs some 400 IT workers, and "will retain about half of those employees" after turning some operations over to outsourcers Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, two of India's largest IT firms.

Click HERE for more details.

Could this be a solution for automation, control, monitoring … ?

Here is another question somebody brought up discussing the NU approach:

“Would you outsource the autopilot to some inexpensive pilot on the ground in some foreign country with cheap labor? No? Then why is anyone even discussing such options for SCADA? And yet, they do!

The problem is education. Many utilities are putting poorly educated, poorly trained staff at the controls of our infrastructure, and then because it fails all the time, are seriously contemplating outsourcing the whole operation to another country.

Outsourcing to the cloud doesn't work. It's not about the technology. It's the people.”

I would add to state that another crucial problem is the education of people that make these decisions to outsource managing our infrastructure.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

IntelliSub Europe 2013 conference

The IntelliSub Europe 2013 conference about next-generation smart substations, takes place 26-28 November 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany

Mövenpick Hotel Frankfurt City, Germany

Click HERE for details.

IEC 61850 is a core component that will be discussed throughout the conference.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

IEC 61400-25 and IEC 61850 for Semantic models in Integrated Operations for Oil & Gas and New Energy

In 2010 Billam Rajashekar Reddy (Norway) analyzed several semantic models for information exchange supporting operations and maintenance :

“Use of Semantic models in Integrated Operations for Oil & Gas and New Energy”

He looked into many solutions like:

  • IEC 61400-25 Wind Turbine Communication
  • RDS-PP Reference Designation System for Power Plant
  • CRM Conceptual Reference Model
  • WITSML Well site Information Transfer Standard Mark-up Language
  • PRODML Production Markup Language
  • RESQML Reservoir Characterization Markup Language
  • RDS-PP Reference Designation System for Power Plants
  • OPC OLE for process control

The conclusion drawn at the end of the Master’s Thesis says:

“Use of semantic models in integrated operations for oil and gas and new energy includes several methods. We come across all those methods. The IEC 61400-25 series of standards provides the means to get open and easy access to key O&M data. This data is a necessity for making the evaluations and analysis needed to improve operation and maintenance of the wind power plants. The paper has shown how the standard can be implemented and what benefits are associated with its use.
The standard does not restrict nor mandate specific customer-supplier roles, but provides a solution that supports the whole range of business cases where the different actors can cooperate. Both the customer and the supplier can benefit from IEC 61400-25 through decreased costs for data access and system integration. Time and money can instead be put on the development of applications, functions and methods that increase the performance of the wind turbines. ...”

I totally agree with the last sentence in the above quoted conclusion! The information modelling method, huge bunch of information models defined in IEC 61400-25 and IEC 61850, information exchange, communication protocols, system configuration language, … could be used immediately – if you choose a ready-to-go software solution with an easy API.

Spend your time and money in applying the standards! Build interoperable systems that keep the sky blue, the grass green, and the power flowing ;-)

Click HERE to access the master thesis.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

VDE and DKE have published Compendium on Energiewende 180° in English

“The DKE has taken an active role in shaping the turnaround in energy policy. Standards open new markets and enable innovation. With the Energiewende 180° initiative, we offer companies and institutions a forum for their various innovations which focus on the energy transition.”

The DKE (German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE) is a modern, non-profit service organization for the secure and efficient production, distribution and use of electricity. By extension, it serves to benefit the general public. It is the competence centre for electro technical standardization in Germany.

The power of standardization reveals itself through activities that encourage dialogue, protect competency and strengthen commitment. This is why the DKE launched the Energiewende 180° initiative.

Click HERE to visit the website of the Initiative Energiewende 180°

Free download of the Compendium E-Book is available.

NettedAutomation is one of the supporters of the Energiewende 180 °: The turnaround in energy policy is achieved with IEC standards and good training

How do you know which IEC 61850 Information Models are published or underway for publication?

Information models in IEC 61850 are growing very fast. Many groups have understood that one of the benefits of IEC 61850 is this: Information Models for real world information (measurements, status, configuration, limits, control, …).

One crucial question is this: Where can you get an overview and introduction in the many models already published or those models underway? There are several groups extending the models for several applications inside and outside electrical substations.

The easiest way is to ask somebody that has a good overview and long-term experience with IEC 61850 …

One of the crucial extensions is defined in the draft IEC 61850-90-3. During a training course I was asked last week if IEC 61850 defines something for overhead line monitoring – he did not have a chance to easily figure out that there is one document under preparation … sure you usually don’t know it or don’t find some documentation.

The following figure gives a brief overview about the various aspects of line monitoring:


Want to learn more on the 300+ Logical Node classes defined so far? Please contact NettedAutomation … or attend the next training course in Frankfurt/Germany on 16-18 October 2013.

You have the chance to learn the basics AND the most crucial definitions of the standards and how they could be used. See you there.

The aging infrastructure and aging work force requires more sensors to make sure that the power is flowing reliably in the future! Almost every day you can read stories about breaking infrastructure.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tissue Data Base for IEC 61850-10 Edition 2 is now open

Please note that the Tissue Data Base for IEC 61850-10 Edition 2 is now open:

Click HERE to go to the part 10 Ed2 tissue data base.

The tissue data base is a very successful means to register, discuss and solve bugs, typos or other issues.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Merging Unit and Monitoring IED with IEC 61850 Server and I/Os

The Merging Unit MU320 offered by Reason combines the Sampled Value exchange with “conventional” Inputs and Outputs using GOOSE and Client/Server communication. This device seems to be a very convenient way to combine both worlds: real-time and general SCADA applications:

  • 9-2LE compliant
  • Up to 16 analog inputs, 12 binary inputs and 16 outputs
  • Support for Protection and Measurement (metering) profiles simultaneously
  • MMS monitoring and control
  • Binary inputs and outputs via GOOSE messages
  • Synchronization via Ethernet using PTP (IEEE1588)
  • Parameter setting using standard data model and SCL language

Click HERE for a more detailed description.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SCADA and Me: A Book for Children and Management

The simple picture book (simple enough for managers and children) “SCADA and Me: A Book for Children and Management” is worth to “study” – really.

This is the children’s book recommended to be read by managers, politicians, teachers, and technical staff!

The crucial message is: SCADA systems are quite often far away from protected! “You can keep SCADA safe by doing simple things. It is the BASICS that are important.”

Click HERE to read more about the picture book.

Just do it! Protect your system! … It requires education and team work.

I would like to design such a little book on IEC 61850 … such a picture book would end like this:

It is the BASICS that are important. Do you know the basics of IEC 61850 and IEC 62351 (Security)? … are you sure. Maybe it is better to get crucial training on the basics.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Benefits of integrating real-time automation functions into IEC 61850-based SCADA platforms

What are the benefits of using IEC 61850 for real-time automation functions?

The results of an Australian project shows the capabilities of an IEC 61850 based SCADA solution that supports the integration of real-time automation functions into their platform based on the use of IEC 61131 logic programming and IEC 61850 as a means of communication for distributed automation functions.

The performance of simple Centralised Remedial Action Scheme (CRAS) implemented on a SCADA system has been evaluated and compared to the legacy methods to determine if the performance, security, reliability, scalability/flexibility and cost are justified considering the additional complexity of an integrated system. Experimental results show that the system delivers significant benefits including improved system reliability through reduced device count, improved safety with configurable operator interfaces, mobility services and remote diagnostic capabilities, and reduced engineering costs by providing a unified engineering environment that allows simple and seamless configuration based on the use of open standards.

Gaining an understanding of the capabilities of today’s real-time automation products and IEC 61850, along with new distributed automation and control functions will provide decision makers with the confidence to adopt more capable digital platforms and implement a smarter grid.
The additional complexity introduced with those highly integrated systems is justified. However, digital technology products will require organisations to develop specialised skills-sets, work processes and procedures to ensure a successful transition to new solutions and architectures.

Click HERE to download the complete report [580 KB, pdf]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

See IEC 61850 in action: Smart Vehicle to Grid Interface (SMARTV2G)

The European Project Smart Vehicle to Grid Interface (SMARTV2G) invites to attend a one day workshop in

Munich (Germany)
Monday, October 14th 2013

Participation in the event is free. All registered participants will also receive a free ticket for the eCarTec 2013.

The major target of SMARTV2G is the connection of electric vehicles to the grid by enabling controlled flow of energy and power through safe, secure, energy efficient and convenient transfer of electricity and data.

One key component in the project is the application of IEC 61850. Attendees of the workshop will get a deep inside view into the state-of-the-art of Smart Vehicle to Grid integration and status of international standardization. There is a chance to meet senior industry experts.

Click HERE to download the program and registration flyer [270 KB, pdf]
Click HERE for the online registration form in English.
Click HERE for the online registration form in German

See you there.

Friday, September 13, 2013

FDIS of IEC 61850-3 “General requirements” published

IEC CO has just published the 67 page FDIS (57/1391/FDIS) for the IEC 61850-3 Edition 2:
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation –
Part 3: General requirements

Ballot closes 2013-11-08

What’s new?

  1. Requirements are in line with those of other equipment used in the same environment (e.g. protection relays);
  2. Product safety added based on IEC 60255-27;
  3. EMC requirements completed and in line with IEC 60255 series and IEC 61000-6-5.

Main clauses are:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Ratings
  • Design and construction
  • Tests
  • Marking, labeling and packaging
  • Rules for transport, storage, installation, operation and maintenance
  • Product documentation

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meet THE experts: Learn about the Use of IEC 61850 in Italy according to the Italian Norms CEI 0-16 and CEI 0-21

TÜV SÜD and three experts from ENEL will present and discuss the application of IEC 61850 for smart grid applications in Italy:

IEC 61850: la comunicazione nelle smart grid.
Connessione con le norme CEI 0-16 e CEI 0-21

10 October 2013
presso TÜV Italia srl
via Carducci 125 pal.23 - Sesto San Giovanni (MI)

This will be a unique opportunity for the Italian audience to get introduction to IEC 61850, especially to understand how and why ENEL is using IEC 61850.

Presentation language will be in Italian.

Click HERE for more information about the (must attend) event.

Click HERE for more information on CEI 0-16 and 0-21.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vulnerability in multiple Triangle MicroWorks’ products

The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) reported on August 28, 2013 the following vulnerability:

Adam Crain of Automatak and independent researcher Chris Sistrunk have identified an improper input validation vulnerability in multiple Triangle MicroWorks’ products and third‑party components. Triangle MicroWorks has produced an update that mitigates this vulnerability. Adam Crain has tested the update to validate that it resolves the vulnerability.

This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.

The following Triangle MicroWorks products are affected:

  • SCADA Data Gateway, v2.50.0309 through v3.00.0616
  • DNP3 .NET Protocol components, v3.06.0.171 through v3.15.0.369
  • DNP3 ANSI C source code libraries, v3.06.0000 through v3.15.0000

Click HERE to access the complete report.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Siemens Siprotec 5: IEC 61850 Edition 2 certified

The Siprotec 5 protection devices are the first devices of their kind on the market worldwide to be certified under IEC 61850, Edition 2. Thanks to the certification under IEC 61850, Edition 2, these Siemens products have the "future built right in," for long-term investment security.

All Siemens protection device series provide two new Ethernet redundancy protocols – HSR (high-availability seamless redundancy) and PRP (parallel redundancy protocol).

These new products prove that IEC 61850 is THE standard for energy delivery systems.

Click HERE for the press release.

More on Siprotec 5 could be found HERE.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cyber security key management for power system equipment

IEC TC 57 has just published a new committee draft:57/1388A/CD

IEC 62351-9:
Power systems management and associated information exchange – Data and communications security – Part 9: Cyber security key management for power system equipment

Closing date for comments is: 2013-11-15

Please contact your TC 57 national body to get a copy of the CD.

The present document cancels and replaces the previous document 57/1388/CD and differs merely by the project number IEC 62351-9 (previously IEC TS 62351-9); the document is intended to be issued as an IEC International Standard (IS) and no longer as an IEC Technical Specification (TS).

The normative clauses are:

7 General key management requirements
8 Asymmetric key management
9 Symmetric key management

I highly recommend to review that document to make sure to get a consistent set of requirements applicable for all IEDs in the whole energy market – not only in the electric power delivery system.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Die Energiewende braucht mehr als Messeinrichtungen!

Eine sehr interessante Untersuchung von Ernst & Young im Auftrag des Bundes-Wirtschaftsministeriums kommt zu einer – neu entdeckten – alten Weisheit, die von den vdi-Nachrichten treffend so zusammengefasst und kommentiert wird:

“Ohne die Ausrüstung aller Stromerzeugungsanlagen, die nach dem Erneuerbare-
Energien-Gesetz (EEG) gefördert werden, mit intelligenten Messsystemen [Anmerk. K. Schwarz: gemeint ist die Kombination von Mess- und Steuertechnik] ist die flächendeckende Einführung von Smart Metern in Deutschland volkswirtschaftlicher Unsinn.” Die Investitionen ohne intelligente Steuerungs- UND Regelungsfunktionen (!) wäre mehr als Unsinn!!

Die vdi-Nachrichten führen weiter aus: “Als größtes Hindernis auf dem Weg zu Smart Grids entpuppt sich ausgerechnet das EEG. Dessen Rechtsrahmen gibt in Hinsicht auf intelligente Zähler und digitale Anlagensteuerung nicht viel her und führt in der Praxis eher zurück ins steuerungstechnische Mittelalter.

Viel mehr gibt es zu diesem Thema fast nicht zu sagen!

Klicken Sie HIER für den Beitrag in den vdi-Nachrichten.
HIER für die BMWI-Pressemeldung (!!).
HIER für die Gesamtstudie von Ernst & Young

In der BMWI-Pressemeldung wird ausgesagt: “Die Bezahlbarkeit von Energie für den Verbraucher ist dabei oberste Leitlinie."

Hat der Schreiber der Aussage mit der Bezahlbarkeit wirklich die Studie gelesen – oder sie nicht verstehen können oder nicht verstehen wollen!?!?

Das wichtigste Ziel muss sein, dass Energie sicher und hoch-verfügbar bereitgestellt wird – sonst gehen die Lichter aus! Vergessen darf man bei alledem auch nicht, das die derzeitige Infrastruktur zum guten Teil in die Jahre gekommen ist und auch noch – zusätzlich zu den intelligenten Systemen – erneuert werden muss!

Erneuerbare Energien und erneuerte Netzinfrastrukturen müssen Hand in Hand gehen! Für beide sind Normen sehr wichtig!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hirschmann Switches provide integrated IEC 61850 Server

The new 8.0 release (The Classic Switch Software) increases again the feature range for managed switches from the MACH, MICE, Rail and OCTOPUS families from Hirschmann™.
Depending on the switch family, these include an integrated IEC61850 server for seamless integration into data networks for power generation and distribution. A PTP power profile according to IEEE C37.238 also allows to accurately synchronizing these networks. Thanks to support for Jumbo frames, which ensure optimum utilization of user data, high-resolution video applications are also possible.
Furthermore, in addition to extensions for PROFINET and Ethernet/IP, the new release for all four switch families offers additional mechanisms for detecting overload situations as well as improved diagnostic and encryption mechanisms.

Click HERE to get more information on the new release providing an IEC 61850 Server.

To my knowledge, they were the first manufacturer that supported an IEC 61850 Server in their Ethernet Switches.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Next Public Training Frankfurt, 16.-18. October 2013

The next public training conducted by Karlheinz Schwarz (NettedAutomation) will take place at the NH Hotel in

Frankfurt-Mörfelden (Germany), 16.-18. October 2013

3 day IEC 61850/61400-25 Seminar/Hands-on Training (NettedAutomation) with with several embedded Controller Development Kits (RTOS, ...), Starter Kit (Windows DLL), and several other demo software.

Details for the event in Frankfurt (Germany) can be found here

For the last two years almost all training events are conducted as customized courses. This is the most efficient way to get your hands on the subject.

A list of training courses and other information could be downloaded:

Get a FREE IEC 61850 Development Kit (HW and SW)- worth 1,290 Euro; as a special GIFT we offer you a free IEC 61850/61400-25 Development Kit, with an ready to go API and example application source code in C/C++ (the kit is included in the regular attendance fee).

The Kit may be used during the course.

Or receive a deep discounted fee (without a Development Kit).

The hands-on training will also comprise use of IEC 61850 to IEC 60870-5-104 Gateway:

For the training we will use DLLs, com.toms, DK61, ... several other tools.

IEC 61850-90-4 Network Engineering – Just Published

IEC just published a crucial document on network engineering:

IEC/TR 61850-90-4 ed1.0
Communication networks and systems for power utility automation -
Part 90-4: Network engineering guidelines

Congratulation to the editors of this great technical report – worth to study in detail!

IEC/TR 61850-90-4:2013 is intended for an audience familiar with network communication and/or IEC 61850-based systems and particularly for substation protection and control equipment vendors, network equipment vendors and system integrators. This Technical Report focuses on engineering a local area network focused on the requirements of IEC 61850-based substation automation. It outlines the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to network topology, redundancy, clock synchronization, etc. so that the network designer can make educated decisions. In addition, this report outlines possible improvements to both substation automation and networking equipment. This Technical Report addresses the most critical aspects of IEC 61850, such as protection related to tripping over the network. This Technical Report addresses in particular the multicast data transfer of large volumes of sampled values from merging units. It also considers the high precision clock synchronization and "seamless" guaranteed transport of data across the network under failure conditions that is central to the process bus concept.

This 250+ page report could be used as a compendium of solutions for the various applications found in power automation systems. The communication infrastructure is one of the crucial aspects of the future energy delivery system – in the electric power world, gas delivery, heating and cooling systems as well as in E-Mobility. The recommendations given in this new part of IEC 61850 could be applied in many application domains even outside the energy world.

As you may have seen, network infrastructure vendors like MOXA and Kyland have integrated IEC 61850/MMS in their infrastructure.

Click HERE to download the preview of IEC/TR 61850-90-4 ed1.0
Click HERE if you want to buy the report.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

KYLAND – IEC 61850 Modeling for Switch Management

Kyland is proud of using IEC 61850 for information exchange of network management information. They write in a white paper:


The IEC61850 Modeling technology can be used to manage industrial Ethernet switches based on IEC61850 protocols. This white paper describes the models and typical applications of the technology. …

In the development of IEC61850, Ethernet switches constitute the communication platform between process layer and substation layer networks. IEC61850 does not take Ethernet switches as devices. However, the monitoring, management, and configuration of Ethernet switches will be gradually incorporated into the entire system in actual applications, which is required by running the system normally, fault diagnosis and alarming.

… Therefore, developing IEC61850-based industrial Ethernet switches management model is one of the key technologies for convenient management of a smart grid.

… Besides key protection, measurement, and monitoring functions, more and more monitoring systems (including the management and monitoring system for communication facilities such as industrial Ethernet switches) will be incorporated into the IEC61850 management system with its openness and interoperability. In the near future, intelligent unmanned substations and infrastructure will be a reality.”

Kayland has defined two specific logical nodes:

ZSWM is the switch management node, a general feature of a switch; ZSWP is the switch port management node, management and status information of a switch port.

ZSWP is based on port. Therefore, each device can contain multiple ZSWP instances:

PortCsPktNum - Number of collision packets
PortCrcPktNum - Number of CRC packets
PortShortPktNum - Number of short packets
PortLongPktNum - Number of long packets
PortBCPktNum - Number of broadcast packets
PortMCPktNum - Number of multicast packets
PortRcvPktNum - Number of total packets received
PortRcvOctetNum - Number of total octets received

More to come.

MMS – Makes Management Simpler

Click HERE for the Kayland White paper.

MOXA’s Dual Protocol Approach: MMS and SNMP

MOXA has announced to support a dual protocol approach in their communication infrastructure: IEC 61850/MMS and SNMP.

This is no surprise: already in the first year of standardization of IEC61850 EdF (France) proposed to use SNMP (simple network management protocol) to carry IEC 61850 payload modeled in a specialized MIB. There was very little support for SNMP.

It is natural that the communication infrastructure also provides IEC 61850/MMS access to the many data objects used in switches, routers and other equipment. IEC 61850-7-4 Edition 2 has a lot of new – communication related – logical nodes that are linked directly to network management like “Physical communication channel supervision” logical node (LCCH):

RxCnt - Number of received messages
RedRxCnt - Number of received messages on redundant channel
TxCnt - Number of sent messages

This is related to the communication infrastructure … Or?

Click HERE for details from MOXA.

MOXA concludes in a White paper:

“Moxa’s new line of PowerTrans IEC 61850 switches now come with full MMS compatibility, with a complete implementation of IEC 61850 data modeling and a built-in MMS server. Our entire line of substation computers, switches, and other associated hardware all still feature our own enhanced SNMP support (with custom MIB files), but Moxa welcomes any inquiry into further customizing our switches, embedded computers, and other substation IT hardware with full or enhanced MMS support, made to your order.”

New Merging Unit from Alstom according to 9-2LE

Alstom Grid is offering a new Merging Unit according to 9-2LE that supports the integration of conventional current and voltage samples into a all digital substation:


Click HERE to download a brochure on the Merging Unit.

According to the UCAIUG Users Group there are now 10 Merging Units certified by the Users Group.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eine Sprache für das Stromnetz – IEC 61850

Kürzlich erschien ein sehr beachtenswerter sechs-seitiger Artikel zur Anwendung der IEC 61850 beim Anschluss dezentraler Erzeuger wie die Photovoltaik in der Zeitschrift photovoltaik: “Eine Sprache für das Stromnetz” (von Dipl.-Ing. Heiko Schwarzburger MA).

Auszug: “Italien hat das Kommunikationsprotokoll IEC 61850 zum Gesetz erhoben. In Deutschland herrscht hingegen Kleinstaaterei. So werden die Netze zum Nadelöhr und ihre Modernisierung zum Milliardengrab.
Die Uhr tickt, doch vielen Anlagenbetreibern ist das gar nicht bewusst: Bis Ende 2013 müssen auch Solaranlagen mit 30 bis 100 Kilowatt Leistung durch den Netzbetreiber regelbar sein. In den vergangenen Monaten wurde diese Vorschrift zunächst bei Anlagen mit mehr als 100 Kilowatt umgesetzt, nun sind die kleineren Generatoren dran. Wer die erforderliche Technik nicht nachrüstet, riskiert den Netzanschluss und die Einspeisevergütung. …
Könnte, würde, sollte: In der Realität haben die Netzbetreiber das Sagen, nicht die Vernunft. So hat Eon Bayern im vergangenen Jahr in seinem Netzgebiet rund 5.500 regenerative Kraftwerke – Photovoltaik, Windräder, Biogasanlagen – mit Leistungen ab 100 Kilowatt ausgerüstet. Fernwirktechnik gab es nur für 150 Kraftwerke, die mehr als ein Megawatt leisten. An alle anderen lieferte Eon Bayern die unzureichenden Rundsteuerempfänger aus, keine Steuerboxen mit Fernwirktechnik. „Wir müssen die Kosten für die Betreiber im Blick haben“, sagt Markus Schwürzenbeck, Leiter des Einspeisemanagements bei Eon. „Sie bekommen von uns einen Rundsteuerempfänger für 356 Euro geliefert.“
Für 400 Euro wäre Fernwirktechnik auch für kleine Anlagen ab 30 Kilowatt verfügbar gewesen, beispielsweise durch die Firma IDS. Das Unternehmen lieferte unlängst 17.000 Geräte an die Lechwerke aus. Wegen der hohen Stückzahl gehen die Kosten runter. Oder könnten sinken, denn das ist bisher ein Einzelfall. Ein Massenmarkt für intelligente Steuersysteme ist nicht in Sicht.

Kleinstaaterei wie im Mittelalter

Das zweite Problem: In Deutschland gibt es rund 900 Netzbetreiber und Stadtwerke. Im Laufe der Jahrzehnte haben sie tausende Lösungen entwickelt, um ihre Generatoren zu steuern. Jedem Tierchen sein Plaisierchen: Da tobt sich die deutsche Kleinstaaterei so richtig aus. Auf ein einheitliches Kommunikationsprotokoll konnten oder wollten sich die Netzbetreiber bisher nicht einigen. „Die Rundsteuerempfänger haben in der Regel vier Relaiskontakte, die vom Wechselrichter ausgelesen werden“, erläutert der SMA-Experte. „Dafür werden unterschiedliche Standards verwendet. Die Vereinheitlichung der Protokolle wäre sinnvoll.

So wird das Netz zum Nadelöhr der Energiewende … Soll das Netz nicht zum Engpass für die Energiewende werden und dem Steuerzahler unnötige Milliardensummen abverlangen, braucht es eine Steuerung von unten. Und schon zeichnet sich ab, dass die Modelle zur schnellen Netzsteuerung noch komplexer werden. Nämlich dann, wenn Batterien und Elektroautos in die Strombilanzen eingreifen. Das Netz als freien Marktplatz für Strom aus allen erdenklichen Quellen zu definieren und dafür die technischen Voraussetzungen zu schaffen, das ist ohne einheitlichen Standard in der Datenkommunikation nicht möglich. Das Netz braucht eine Lingua franca, nicht nur in Italien.“

Für eine gewisse Übergangszeit (sicher von mehreren Jahren) wird das Fernwirkprotokoll IEC 60870-5-104 noch eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Auf Geräteebene in Schaltanlagen und Erzeugungsanlagen werden allerdings heute schon zunehmend Geräte mit IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 eingesetzt, die über ein Gateway zu IEC 60870-5-104 angeschlossen werden. Mit diesen Gateways wir den Netzleitsystemen eine Schonfrist über einen Migrationspfad hin zu IEC 61850 geboten. Damit werden neue Möglichkeiten nach IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 ermöglicht, ohne gleich in der Breite die Netzleistellen-Kopplung verändern zu müssen. Technisch wäre das sicher heute schon möglich! Neben den Netzleitstellen benötigen zunehmend auch andere Dienststellen und Gruppen Informationen über den Prozess, die Prozessautomatisierung und die Kommunikationsinfrastruktur: Asset Monitoring im engeren und weitesten Sinne – hier werden Daten sehr oft direkt mittels IEC 61850 und IEC 61400-25 ausgetauscht!

In der Normung der IEC 61850 wurde diese Migration schon vor etwa 10 Jahren beschrieben. Als Ergebnis dieser Arbeiten wurde 2008 der Teil IEC 61850-80-1 veröffentlicht:


Hier klicken, um den gesamten Artikel “Eine Sprache für das Stromnetz” zu lesen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

IEC 61850 Control Model – What is the function of SelectWithValue?

Somebody asked the other day these good questions:

“I tried to understand what “select with value”  or SelectWithValue (SelVal) means, but without success.

What I did understand is it is used for   Select before operate with enhanced security.

Question: What is the purpose of SelectWithValue ?  What is the difference between normal Select and SelecWithValue?”

… questions that have some hidden answer in IEC 61850-7-2 …

You have to look at the service parameters exchanged with the SelectWithValue service request (which is part of the IEC 61850-7-2 control model) – see figure:


The use of the various parameters is this (excerpt, example):

ctlVal (e.g. OPEN) could be used to check against the interlocking information (Logical Node CILO). If opening is not allowed, the server could already at this stage return saying: opening is not allowed.

The ctlNum could be used to guarantee a sequence … further:


With the T a server could figure out that the SelectWithValue is too old to be processed …

I guess this gives a good understanding of the general objective.

In the case of Select, you don’t have these.

Monday, August 5, 2013

List of 5,000+ abbreviations in IEC 61850 and related documents

Please find a list of 5,000+ abbreviations used in IEC 61850 and related documents:


Click Here for the complete document [163 pages pdf, 6 MB]

Substation Automation Handbook On Sale

The famous Substation Automation Handbook by Dr. Klaus-Peter Brand, Volker Lohmann, and Dr. Wolfgang Wimmer is on Sale … deeply discounted:


The new price is now:


The book is a must for all people involved in substation automation:

Click Here for the new order form.

Click Here for some excerpts.

Download IEC 61850 Blog Content as single PDF Document (August 05, 2013)

For those readers of the blog that want to get the complete content as
a single pdf document, it is just a click away … it contains all 800+ posts
from 2008 until 2013-08-05. Once you have downloaded the file you
can easily browse the content … search … mark … copy …

Download all posts of the IEC 61850 blog in a single pdf [8,6 MB, 
631 pages DIN A4]

You may also subscribe to the blog to automatically receive updates … as many people do:


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Could a Counter Interrogation Service bring the European Power or Gas Networks down?

Good question! Easy to answer: Yes! It depends on the standard and implementation used.

Early May 2013 it almost happened in Europe. What? During a test of a new control center communication and application an IEC 60870-5-101 or –104 Broadcast “Counter interrogation” command went out to interrogate counters from ALL RTUs somehow “connected”. The command was received and answered by all these RTUs. Obviously one RTU responded with a “Broadcast” response … and obviously there was a “loop” somewhere in the network … it ended up in flooding the network for days!!!

The operators had very severe problems to get status and measurements from the process – because first the network was sending bunches of messages back and forth and around. Second, when experts started to “break” the “loops” and disconnect from the neighboring network they could “cool” down the traffic but lost some awareness of the system’s situation. After a few days they fixed some software … but they did not yet find the device that caused the trouble. According to a report from experts involved.

Hm!? That’s really a crucial issue with a standard protocol in operation for 15 or 20 years.

Here is why this could happen at all: During the days IEC 60870-5-101 was designed, people thought that the communication is strictly hierarchical and looks like a tree (top-down) – see next figure from 101: 


For counter interrogation the broadcast is often used in order to catch the counter values at a certain time, let’s say 20:00 h. To freeze the value at 20:00 h the control center has to send out a broadcast counter interrogation to freeze the value at 20:00 h (+/- some seconds – due to travel time …).

Next it can send another command to start sending the values from the RTUs to the control center.

That means: A lot of messages have to be sent at the same time … to reach all RTUs … in star topologies, or “looped” networks, … how to control such a process if you have hundreds of RTUs … owned by different utilities … blablabla …

The issue is here: People thought that you could start system-wide synchronous functions by synchronizing through timeliness messages. That may work in simple topologies … but … in Smart Grid systems with many (many) meters, it is unlikely that this approach will work reliably.

How does IEC 61850 solve that requirement? It defines a concept of time-wise synchronized RTUs (or generally speaking IEDs). The control center can send a command to freeze well in advance – an hour or two … so that no message shower will occur around 20:00 h. The IEC 61850 server stores the time when it has to freeze the corresponding value(s). The server can then send the frozen values via a data set and report control block, or can the data set or log it.

The synchronization is completely decoupled from the freezing and retrieving process.

The process is configured using the common data class BCR (Binary Counter Reading):


This model really is based on the (bad) experience with 101 and 104 … and … it works … and does not flood the network!

The broadcast command in 101 and 104 SHOULD be REMOVED … at least utilities should no longer rely on it!!! Take this very serious … as many other utility experts do.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Logical Nodes and Data Models for Steam and Gas Turbines

IEC has just published a committee draft (CD) with a proposal for new models to be used in steam and gas turbines:

57/1383/CD - AIEC 61850-7-410 A1:
Amendment 1 to IEC 61850-7-410: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation – Part 7-410: Basic communication structure – Hydroelectric power plants – Communication for monitoring and control

Comments could be provided until 2013-11-01

The draft contains the details of the following new logical nodes (with some 120 data objects):

EBCF Block control function. This LN will represent one physical device that coordinates the control of the thermal pressure of the steam generator and the electrical power regulation of turbine / generator system
EFCV Fuel control valve. This LN will represent the physical device of fuel control valve related to the gas turbine in a thermal power plant.
EGTU Gas turbine production unit. This LN represents the physical device of the GT and the generator combination in a thermal power plant. It is intended as an extended rating plate that allows settings of data. It also acts as a placeholder for the current operating conditions of the unit.
ESCV Steam control valve. This LN will represent the physical device of inlet control valve of the steam turbine in a thermal power plant.
ESPD Speed monitoring. This LN is derived from HSPD
ESTU Steam turbine production unit. This LN represents the physical device of the ST and the generator combination in a thermal power plant. It is intended as an extended rating plate that allows settings of data. It also acts as a placeholder for the current operating conditions of the unit.
EUNT Thermal unit operating mode. The present status of the production unit
FDBF Dead-band filter. This LN represents a settable filter for dead-band

Trip matrix. This LN represents a matrix for linking various trip functions to equipment that shall be tripped or controlled during a fault.

GUNT Production unit operating mode. The present status of the production unit

Supervision of electrical conductivity in water. This logical node represents a system for monitoring of electrical conductivity in water.


Measurement of electrical conductivity in water. This logical node represents a generic device for measuring the conductivity in water.

The LN Group E stands for “Enthalpy”; Enthalpy is a measure of the total energy of a thermodynamic system.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

IEC 61850 Security – Siemens SIPROTEC 5

Siemens published an informative document on Security of their communication systems supporting IE 61850, IEC 60870-5-103, DNP3 etc:

SIPROTEC 5 Application Note
Communication Architecture Under Cyber Security Aspects

I was a bit surprised that the IEC 61850-8-1 (MMS) communication in SIPROTEC 5 IEDs is not secured. The paper even does not mention the IEC 62351 series … which at least recommends to apply TLS for the TCP communication and MMS.

Click HERE to download the document.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Multiagent Automation based on IEC 61850 and IEC 61499

G. Zhabelova and V. Vyatkin know for their interest in combining IEC 61850 with IEC 61499 have published an interesting paper on

"Multiagent Smart Grid Automation Architecture Based on IEC 61850/61499 Intelligent Logical Nodes"

in Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on, vol. 59, pp. 2351-2362, 2012.

Abstract— Universal, intelligent and multifunctional devices controlling power distribution and measurement will become the enabling technology of the Smart Grid ICT. In this paper we report on a novel automation architecture which supports distributed multi-agent intelligence, interoperability and configurability, and enables efficient simulation of distributed automation systems. The solution is based on the combination of IEC 61850 object-based modeling and interoperable communication with IEC 61499 function blocks executable specification. Using the developed simulation environment we demonstrate the possibility of multi-agent control to achieve self-healing grid through collaborative fault location and power restoration.

Click HERE to download the complete paper.

Monday, July 29, 2013

IEC 61850/IEC 61499 Based Engineering

You may remember the papers on the use of IEC 61850 in conjunction with IEC 61499 published a few years ago:

Since then a couple of papers on the subject have been published. One of the latest has been published today:

G. Zhabelova, C.-W. Yang, V. Vyatkin , “SysGrid: IEC 61850 and IEC 61499 based engineering process for Smart Grid system design”, IEEE Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN’13), Bochum, July 29-31, 2013

Abstract — The paper proposes a novel computer-aided model-based system engineering process for Smart Gird applications. The process is supported by the SysGrid tool that plays the roles of system configurator and device configurator.
The design process starts with single line diagrams which are automatically transformed to executable function block specifications. The process is based on the Smart Grid control architecture that is a heterogeneous network of controllers communicating in a peer to peer manner. This “artificial nervous system” of the Smart Grid will be capable of self-healing and dynamic adaptation to renewable generation and ever-changing loads. The tool supports system-level design of automation logic in the form of function block networks with compliancy to IEC 61499. The capabilities of SysGrid are demonstrated through the process of designing a distributed protection application.

Click HERE to download the full paper.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Batteries and Electric Vehicles - U.S. Government spends $2.4 Billion in Grants

According to the White House press release (2009-08-05) President Obama "announced 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects that will receive $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects, selected through a highly competitive process by the Department of Energy, will accelerate the development of U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles, helping to establish American leadership in creating the next generation of advanced vehicles."

The award winners will invest another $2.4 Billion.

One of the biggest deployment projects will be implemented by ETEC in cooperation with Nissan. According to ETEC: "The Project will install electric vehicle charging infrastructure and deploy up to 1,000 Nissan battery electric vehicles in strategic markets in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. ... To support the Nissan EV, the Project will install approximately 12,500 Level 2 (220V) charging systems and 250 Level 3 (fast-charge) systems."

Click HERE for the full White House press release.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

IEC 61850 – How to use the Standard in Substations?

The German mirror committee of IEC TC 57 (DKE K 952) is quite active in supporting IEC 61850 and helping the utility industry to discuss the application of IEC 61850 and provide feedback to the international standardization. Congratulation to all experts that have contributed to that work for many years! Well done!
The final documents of the modeling and engineering group provide a great inside view into the many use cases of IEC 61850 in protection and substation automation. The crucial results are written in English, too. Four out of seven topics are published in English:
  1. Überblick [DE] / Overview [EN]
  2. Engineeringprozess [DE] / Engineering Process [EN]
  3. Engineeringwerkzeuge [DE]
  4. Modellierungsrichtlinie [DE] / Modeling Guide [EN]
  5. Mustermodellierung [DE]
  6. Applikationsbeschreibungen [DE] / Application Description [EN]
  7. Weitere Applikationen [DE]
Click HERE to access the above documents. The pdf documents are free to download.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Telecoms – How they may impact the energy automation infrastructure

Telecom companies have a lot of experience of building huge communication systems made up of thousands of computers. For several years they are looking to enter the market of energy delivery systems. They are – to some extent – competing with traditional manufacturers (SMEs and large companies) of energy automation systems – let’s call them Smart(er) Grids.

The “Telecoms for Smart Grid Conference”, 23-24 September, 2013, London, will provide a lot of possible solutions that may – some time down the street – be used by utilities one way or the other.

There is another group of manufacturers that belief they have the appropriate solutions for the Smart(er) Grids: the industrial automation people. They have also a long history in (factory floor and process) automation.

Building the future hybrid energy delivery system will be a very challenging task.

Taking the many influences into account it seems to be natural that this work could only be done with TEAMWORKs:

Teamwork makes the dream work – supported by international standards like IEC 60870-5-104, DNP3, IEC 61850, CIM, …

Mapping between DLMS/COSEM and IEC 61850

A first draft has been written describing the mapping between DLMS/COSEM and IEC 61850:

80-4: Mapping between the DLMS/COSEM (IEC 62056) data models and the IEC 61850 data models

It defines a one-to-one relationship between IEC 62056 OBIS codes and IEC 61850 Logical Nodes and Data Objects.

OSCE publication on Energy Infrastructure Protection

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has published a comprehensive report titled:

Good Practices Guide on Non-Nuclear Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection (NNCEIP) from Terrorist Attacks Focusing on Threats Emanating from Cyberspace

The 100 page Guide is a very comprehensive document that states at the beginning that “The importance of energy security and energy infrastructure security cannot be overstated. It is among the most serious security, economic and environmental challenges of both today, and the future.”

The report is worth to read – but it would be more important if vendors and users of the energy infrastructure and the energy automation infrastructure would increase investments in implementing the basic measures to secure both systems. Unfortunately the implementation of these measures are not a business case to increase the profit of an utility!

The challenge with the future energy infrastructure is this: to manage the Cost and Lost. Both infrastructures (energy and energy automation) will require huge amount of investment to keep the energy delivery stable, secure, reliable, and resilient (Cost) and deal with more renewable energy (Lost in the sense of relative reduction of traditional bulk generation and transmission).

Almost everything about security has been said – but not by everybody. Let’s move on with more implementations of security measures.

Click HERE for the complete guide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

IEC 61850-8-1 Signal Quality Encoding

Yesterday I received an email with a question on the encoding of the signal quality in MMS messages. Please find below the question and how the encoding is done in MMS made visible with the Wireshark:





Hope that give some deep inside knowledge for those that analyze the MMS message exchange needed for IEC 61850-8-1.

Telecommunication and IEC 61850 for power distribution systems

More often distribution utilities are looking into the future information and communication infrastructure. One example is the Flexible Plug and Play (FPP) project in Great Britain:

“The challenge

Distribution Network Operators in Great Britain face the challenge of accommodating high concentrations of renewable generation connections on to the network.  Where there is high demand of connection requests, the connection can be costly and time consuming.  Flexible Plug and Play will address this. …

At the heart of Flexible Plug and Play will be a new Telecommunications Platform.  This platform, which is formed of a high-speed communications  and radio frequency mesh network (similar to wi-fi), will enable the integration of Flexible Plug and Play smart technologies and systems. It will facilitate the data exchange and control capability to implement the technical and commercial solutions which will manage the network constraints to enable an increase in the renewable generation connections and the renewable generator developers to export on to the distribution network.

The smart technologies will communicate with each other using open standard data protocol defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The protocol is commonly called the IEC 61850 and is an international standard for data communications between smart devices and information systems for electricity networks.  …”

Click HERE to get an overview about the project.

Click HERE for downloading a nice and comprehensive presentation on the history and the plans for the future … including the use of IEC 61850 for use in power distribution systems. [pdf, 87 pages, 10 MB]

Saturday, July 13, 2013

IEC 61850: Phoenix Contact offers special Ethernet Ring Solution

Phoenix Contact (Germany) published a paper “IEC 61850 verknüpft Energie- und Automatisierungsnetz” (IEC 61850 connects Energy Networks and Automation Networks) in the latest issue of the Magazine Computer & Automation (July 2013).

IEC 61850 is understood as a huge benefit in the energy delivers system because it is accepted globally.

Phoenix Contact offers special Managed industrial Ethernet switches that combine extensive network performance and security features with complete IEEE redundancy (STP/RSTP/MST) and 15 ms recovery time extended ring redundancy.

The extended ring redundancy is offered as a cost-effective redundancy solution – compared to solutions based on PRP and HSR.

Click HERE for further information on the IEC 61850-3 compliant Ethernet Switches.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy Gateway for ZIGBEE to IEC 61850

The Beck IPC Development Kit DK61 seems to be one of the favorite platforms for building gateways between several protocols and IEC 61850. A gateway between ZIGBEE and IEC 61850 has been developed by a master student in Poland.

Dominik Nowak (AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland) has developed a ZigBee-to-IEC61850 bridge. It is designed to meet IEC61850 standard requirements and to connect ZigBee network to a substation automation system. The architecture is shown in the following excerpt:


Click HERE for the pdf file of the mater thesis [2.8. MB].

The thesis describes to some extent how to build such a gateway with the Beck IPC Chip.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Communication solution for Siprotec 4 and 5

The Siemens Siprotec solutions support usually several solutions for communication interfaces. The following list shows which communication solutions are supported by Siprotec 4 and Siprotec 5 devices:



According to Siemens comprises the installed base of Siprotec devices about one million devices and some 250,000 with IEC 61850. As you can see, the Siprotec 5 does (not yet) support IEC 60870-5-104*, not any more FMS, DP, and Profinet.
* under development for Siprotec 5.

Source (dated 2013):
Selection Guide for SIPROTEC Edition 2

The number devices with IEC 61850 interface is growing very fast. Recently experts from two German utilities told me that they expect that in some time down the road even 104 will not anymore be offered by major manufacturers.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Guideline for Time Stamping of Operational Data Logs

NERC has published a Guideline to describe minimum recommendations for maintaining accurate time stamp indications for logged events on the bulk power system.

Security Guideline for the Electricity Sector:
Time Stamping of Operational Data Logs

Click HERE to download the complete NERC document.

This is a document worth to read!

End-to-end quality codes for SADA Signals

IEC TC 57 has published the 49 page final draft standard IEC 62361-2 (57/1374/FDIS):
Power systems management and associated information exchange –
Interoperability in the long term –
Part 2: End-to-end quality codes for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)

The ballot closes 2013-08-09.

What does this FDIS provide?

It lists the quality codes of the following standards and provides a mapping between them:

  • IEC 61850
  • IEC 60870-5-101/104
  • IEC 60870-6 TASE.2
  • OPC DA

There could be the following series of standards involved from IEDs to a CC:

IEC 61805 –> IEC 60870-5-104 –> IEC 61970 -> IEC 60870-6 –> IEC 61970

Good luck!

This standard will help to reach a standardized mapping!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Draft on how to use IEC 61850 models in substations (IEC 61850-7-500)

IEC TC 57 has recently published a first Draft IEC TR 61850-7-500 – Use of logical nodes for modelling applications and related concepts and guidelines for substations (57/1371/DC). The document comprises almost 60 pages.

Comments are requested by 2013-07-12 at the latest.

The technical report is intended to provide guidelines and explanations, how the logical nodes defined in IEC 61850-7-4 shall be combined and used to model applications from substation automation domain.

A crucial goal is to show the most common application of Logical Nodes in
modelling simple and complex functions, to improve common understanding in modelling and data exchange, and finally to lead to implementations which keep at least interoperability.

For those people that are interested in process bus applications, it is highly recommended that you review that document!

If you are interested in this work, please contact your national mirror committee of TC 57.