Monday, November 13, 2017

IEC 61850 Training in Deutsch mit Jubiläumsrabatt

An alle an IEC 61850 Interessierten,
NettedAutomation bietet das viertägige IEC 61850 Intensiv-Training
vom 05 bis 08. Dezember 2017 
in Karlsruhe
zu einem ***unschlagbaren Jubiläums-Sonderpreis*** von 750 Euro (netto) an!

Hier für das Anmeldeformular klicken.

Bei der Anmeldung bitte den Sonderpreis vermerken!

Weitere Termine:
14.-17. Mai 2018
04.-07. Dezember 2018

Wir haben mehr als 4.300 Experten in mehr als 240 Kursen geschult - überall auf der Welt!

Wir bieten Ihnen auch gerne ein Inhouse-Seminar an.

Wir würden uns freuen, Sie am 05.12. in Karlsruhe - direkt neben dem Weihnachtsmarkt - begrüßen zu können!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

First Amendment of IEC 61850-4: System and Project Management

IEC TC 57 just published the IEC 61850-4 Amendment 1 (57/1922/CDV)
– Communication networks and systems for power utility automation
Part 4: System and project management

The main extensions of the edition 2 are:
  1. New sub-chapter 5.3.6 describes the engineering tool workflow and its chronology (which SCL files are exchanged in between configuration tools) through 3 use cases: the classical use case, the change of system tool and the interaction between 2 projects.
  2. New sub-chapter 6.4 talks about backward compatibility and deals with replacement or extension whatever the component is provided by the same or different manufacturer. To do so, it scrutinizes through 4 use cases, what kind of impacts could be acceptable for IED or tools.
The ballot closes 2018-02-02.
The CDV (committee draft for vote) is accessible for PUBLIC comments by every interested person.

Note that the amendment has already been blended into the edition 2 document for easier reading: 57/1923/INF

These extensions answer a couple of questions that come up during every seminar and in many discussions. They are extending the explanations of SCL (part 6).
The document is worth to study.

Friday, November 3, 2017

What happens during a blackout - Comprehensive Report of the German Parliament's study

published in 20111 a very comprehensive report:

What happens during a blackout - 
Consequences of a prolonged and wide-ranging power outage

Infrastructures such as a reliable energy supply, functioning water-supply and wastewater-disposal systems, efficient modes of transport and transport routes and also information technology and telecommunications technology that can be accessed at all times represent the lifeblood of high-technology industrialised nations. The Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment therefore commissioned the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) to investigate the possible effects of a prolonged and widespread power blackout on highly critical infrastructures such as drinking water, wastewater, information and communications systems, financial services and health services, especially against a backdrop where the blackout has a cascading effect spanning state and national boundaries.
In Germany, several recent natural disasters and technical malfunctions (Elbe and Oder floods in 2002/2005, power blackout in the Münsterland in 2005, the Kyrill storm in 2007) have highlighted the population’s dependence on such (critical) infrastructures. Supply bottlenecks, public safety problems and disruptions to road and rail transport have revealed the vulnerability of modern societies and made extreme demands on health, emergency and rescue services...."

Click HERE for the 250 page report [English].
Click HERE for the German version.

The report is one of the best descriptions I have seen. It is really worth to read, to understand and to follow.

If you want to understand what power outages could mean to a society (in a warm region - not in c(o)ld Germany), study the following reports:
Click HERE for the report "Puerto Rico 'heartbreaking' five weeks post-storm"
Click HERE for the report "Puerto Rico Struggles With Power Recovery ..."
Click HERE for further information

I hope something like that will not happen during winter time in Germany.
Note that we have more than natural disasters: Man-made aging infrastructures and aging workforce. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Port Scanning in a Substation - May be a No-Go

Security is more than a buzzword these days. You should be very serious about the security of your substation protection and automation system.
Joe Weiss asked yesterday:
Are the Good Guys as Dangerous as the Bad Guys – an Almost Catastrophic Failure of the Transmission Grid
What happened? A port scanning tool in an IEC 61850 GOOSE based substation protection system had a very negative impact on the GOOSE publisher and subscriber: The Relays stopped to operate!! They had to be manually rebooted.
Port scanning may provide a lot (too much) of stress to the devices and communication system. Such a crucial load has to be taken into account during the design of the devices and of the whole system. Theoretically this payload should be taken into account as part of the system engineering ... part of the System Configuration Description (SCD). Any unexpected traffic avalanche may have a serious impact on the stability of the system!
Click HERE for Joe's report.

I guess that the GridEx network monitor would have raised the red flag seeing the message avalanche in the transmission substation.

Lesson to be learned:
Any non-operational load on a critical network should be treated very careful. IT and OT people have to work together and make sure that such test tools do not put too much stress onto the devices connected in a substation or any other system:
Teamwork makes the dream work - and keeps the power flowing!

Click HERE for a discussion of port scanning ... written long time ago (2001 !!)
Click HERE for a worth to read report on how to apply IEC 62443.

My friend Andrea Bonetti (FMTP) responded as follows:

Dear Karlheinz!
What you have described is unfortunately a known problem.
It is really not at all the first time that it happens in the last 10 years, but it is maybe the first time that it is presented to the public.
I would like to stress-out that this problem is NOT related to IEC 61850 but it is related to the correct usage of digital technology.
Similar situations happened also “before” when proprietary digital technology was used. Maybe they were just more difficult to disclose because also the tools were proprietary.
Regarding GridEx, it would have detected the loss of communication among the devices, as it performs the supervision of the GOOSE messages. This would have been written in its report.
GridEx performs also network load calculations, but in the case you have described this would not have helped probably. Anyway that information would also have been written in the report.
Let me point out that GridEx is an “IEC 61850 passive tool”.
GridEx does not talk to any device, does not send any IEC 61850 message…. it can only listen to what happens, without interacting with the system.
Also the time synchronization of GridEx can be performed completely independently from the system, with its own independent GPS receiver accessory.
Also GridEx works without a PC, so you do not connect the PC to the substation network system.
As GridEx doesn’t interact to the system where it is connected to, it cannot cause any damage and it can be connected to the network while the system is in service.