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Standard IEC 61850 for substation automation and other power system applications

Prepared for the international conference "Power Systems and Communications Infrastructures for the future" Beijing, September 2002

Karlheinz Schwarz
SCC, Karlsruhe, Germany
schwarz@scc-online.de

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SYNOPSIS

Automation systems in the area of power systems are widely accepted today. They are mostly based on many proprietary solutions or (de facto) standards not specifically designed for substations. To meet today’s and future requirements a new standard with an advanced approach has been requested a few years ago. As a result of international projects the standard IEC 61850 (Communication networks and systems in substations) is under final preparation in 2002. It will be used in the all over the globe.

It is not sufficient to develop systems that only produce, transmit, or distribute electric power. Fully automated – remotely supervised – systems that require little or no human intervention seem to be ideal. Technologies bundled into the power system, therefore, has to include protection and control equipment, as well as interfaces to supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) of control centers. The standard covers a wide range of substation applications. At the process level the IEC 61850-9-1 standard defines a unidirectional serial communication interface connecting current (CT) and voltage transducers (VT) with digital output to electrical metering and protection devices. This allows the exchange of synchronized phasor measurements using GPS signals for synchronization. Another real-time requirement is met by the GOOSE (Generic Object Oriented System Event) that defines the transmission of high priority information like trip commands or interlocking information

Additional applications that are necessary for a complete system may include: metering, protection and control, remote monitoring and fault diagnosis, automated dispatch and control, data retrieval, site optimization of electrical/thermal outputs, asset management, as well as condition monitoring and diagnosis.

The standard IEC 61850 will be used for many other application domains outside substations, too. One of the biggest success stories in power systems is the deployment of wind power – now the world's fastest-growing energy source. Since 1993, the market for new turbines to generate clean power from wind has grown at over 40 % per year. Already over 25,000 turbines (some 10,000 in Germany) are producing electricity world-wide at the end of 2001.

Globally, utility deregulation is expanding and requiring demands to integrate, consolidate and disseminate real-time information quickly and accurately within all kinds of utility automation systems – from power plants to customer interfaces. Utilities and vendors spend an ever-increasing amount for real-time information exchange; costs for data integration and maintenance are exploding. Vendors of power systems have – because of the fast growing market or market deregulation – very limited resources to implement and apply hundreds of proprietary communication systems. In response to this situation, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and IEEE have developed and published a suite of (draft) international communication standards and a technical report.

The future electricity systems will – thanks to a seamless real-time communication system – be smart at the top but smarter at the bottom, self-regulated by millions of communicating devices connected to form feedback loops, and permanently aware of the world around them.

The benefactors of the results of open device data integration span the entire industry and include all of the stake-holders in this industry. With the standard IEC 61850 intelligent protection relays and other real-time devices are becoming more common. Utilities could take advantage of these new developments, and make the power systems safer than before – taking into account that all critical information (status and measurements) is available (at any time and any where) when making control decisions.

Download complete article [pdf, 570KB]


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