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Engineering Perspective on IEC61850

Engineering Perspective on IEC61850



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may/june 2007
 power & energy magazine
1540-7977/07/$25.00©2007 IEEE
IEC 61850 IS BECOMING A POPULAR COMMUNICATIONstandard for the Substation Automation business. Several hundreds of projects at different stages of realization have been reported duringthe last summer CIGRE session leading to a rapid maturation of theassociated technologies. Experiences reported in CIGRE papers alsoreveal some improvements that still need to be made. The aim of thispaper is to discuss the benefits as well as the necessary changeslinked to this technology.More specifically,this paper addresses the evolutions to be done dur-ing system engineering (design,configuration and tests) in order to prop-erly use the capabilities of the IEC 61850 toolbox. As per any tool thereis a need to know how to properly use it and to fully understand its limits.
 power & energy magazine
may/june 2007
Benefits of IEC 61850
Base Benefits
IEC 61850 capabilities clearly exceed what former IEC 60870-5-103,DNP3,and most proprietary protocols had to offer:
speed of exchanges:100 Mb/s instead of a few 10 kb/s,enabling more data to be exchanged for a better opera-tion or maintenance of the system
peer-to-peer links,replacing conventional wires withno extra hardware and also opening the design of inno-vative automation schemes
client-server relations offering flexible and easy toupgrade solutions compared to master slave communi-cations; for instance,having a dedicated client for acustomer-specific function
XML configuration files enabling formal exchangesbetween engineering tools thus avoiding duplicate dataentry,optimizing the data consistency and reducing theengineering costs
communication conformance tests that help in reducingthe variety of interpretations found in many legacy pro-tocols and leading to long integration tests and tuning.
The Big Picture
Looking at the big picture is even more exciting,here aresome examples:
The paper by Norberg et al. (see the “For FurtherReading”section) suggests the replacement of tradi-tional intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) by basicfield sensors and actuators,with all protections andcontrol functions running on an industrial PC. Theexpectations are savings on the secondary equipmentand process wiring as well as increased flexibility.
Simplification of the primary equipment could beachieved by re-engineering the synchro-check func-tion. The synchro-check compares the busbar andline voltage phases; thus,the busbar voltages are tra-ditionally distributed to the various bays. Capabilityto centralize the instantaneous digital voltage valuescould eliminate both primary busbar voltage instru-ment transformers and their physical distributionwithin the substation.
Application standardization is another direction,whichwould further improve the total cost of ownership. TheDecember 2003 article by Hossenlopp (see “For Fur-ther Reading”) shows how to use the IEC 61850vocabulary as a basis for standardizing bay schemesstandardization. ONS in Brazil has standardized theuse of a graphical user interface (GUI) client.
Tight coordination with the control center level couldsimplify the substation automation system configura-tion by receiving automatically generated XML filescontaining the substation topology and the informa-tion addresses.
Innovative grid-wide applications could be facilitatedthanks to the naming conventions. This includes assetmanagement,protection setting coordination,etc.
Need to Define a Roadmap
Benefits will be achieved progressively for several reasons:
When using a new technology,the first step is usuallyto copy what was done before. The use of GOOSE (fordistributed automation) and standard clients are thenext step. Major changes require rethinking the appli-cations thus taking more time. The IEC 61850 is just atool for seamless data addressing and communication.It only facilitates the development of generic applica-tions and interface specifications based on the datasemantic. This is illustrated in Figure 1.
The maturity of the standard. There is a revision 2 of the IEC 61850 in preparation that will fix some issues.Work is also in progress to facilitate the exchange of configuration files between control centers and substa-tions,in liaison with the common information model(CIM). Cyber-security and redundancy managementare other examples of solutions that must become avail-able to implement the big picture.
A change in the way to executeprojects. This is discussed in thefollowing sections.
System Design
Why Is It Becoming Important?
Communication is not new in a substa-tion. A major difference between the for-mer (de facto) standard (IEC60890-5-103,DNP3,MODBUS,etc.)protocols and IEC 61850 is its expectedfunctional use. The former technologywas a master-slave protocol that wasmostly retrieving information for
purposes. It was sending controls
 figure 1.
New technology adoption benefit versus time.
BenefitsInvestmentPhaseTraditionalTechnology QuickHitsGOOSEStandard ClientsDeepChangesNew Applications(Local, Network)Network Data IntegrationCopyLearningCurve
may/june 2007
 power & energy magazine
as well but typically triggered by an operator. Limitations werethe speed to the communication link (rarely above 64 kb/s),thenecessary centric communication (one master communicatingwith each slave),and the availability of the master (failure of themaster resulted in the election of a new one and took severalseconds). A direct consequence was to restrict the performanceof the distributed functions that could be accomplished.IEC 61850 introduces peer-to-peer links in order to permitfast distributed automation but leaves open several aspects.
Enabling distributed functions is a major objective,however,functions are not defined in IEC 61850,thusa document must be created on a
basis. Thisshall describe the expected behavior of each IED par-ticipating to the
functions and allocate theperformance between the IEDs (e.g.,response time).The document shall also define how to test the functionin order to prepare the interoperability tests.
It shall then be checked if each device is capable of implementing the function. For instance,it shall beverified whether the device programming logic canhandle the quality information associated to any opera-tional data,if it has enough virtual inputs/outputs toprocess all data exchanged with the network,etc.
The next step is to insure that the performance will bemet. Performance is not only a question of network (100 Mb/s Ethernet and associated software stack) butand end-to-end performance; i.e.,what the user canobserve (see Figure 5 discussed later in this article).The continuous IED hardware integration increase (forcost reduction) and blooming ideas for distributedfunctions (for improved substation operation) are likelyto strengthen the assessment of system performance.The Metcalf law states that the benefit of a communicationnetwork increases with the square of its users. Opening thecommunication is likely to amplify the cross-devices commu-nications,thus reinforcing the need for a robust design.The system design is thus becom-ing an important milestone in a substa-tion automation project. A GOOSE isonly one of the data flows that shall beconsidered in this exercise. Other dataflows (client-server and non-IEC61850) and additional constraints shallbe integrated as well,and this is devel-oped in the next section.
From Physical to Logical Architecture
A traditional high-level description of asystem based on legacy protocols wasits physical architecture. The main chal-lenge was to develop the right protocoldrivers,possibly with specific hardware,or add a gateway to make the systemwork. Insuring that the number of devices on the serial links was not exceeding a certain limit andeventually developing a redundant master were other aspects toconsider. IEC 61850 is removing most of these constraints. Alldevices are on Ethernet,the network bandwidth limitation isnegligible in most applications,and the central master isreplaced by clients that can run in parallel.The new important description is the logical architecture,where all the data flows are identified. The 2006 paper byHossenlopp (see “For Further Reading”) provides a compre-hensive description of an IEC 61850 project made for Algeriaand shows the differences between the physical architecture(Figure 2,where the red ellipse is the Ethernet network inter-connecting PC,gateway,and bay computers) and the logicalone (Figure 3,where number refers to types of data flows).The next section explains the reasons for the apparent com-plexity of the logical architecture in a more general frame.
Logical Architecture Definition
The logical architecture definition is an essential part of thesystem design,and this section discusses some of the tasks tobe performed at this stage.
 figure 2.
Example of a physical architecture.
 figure 3.
Underlying logical architecture of Figure 2 (simplified).
Gateway T104/T101 BackupIEC 61850 ClientGUI Server MainIEC 61850 ClientGUIClientGUIClientGateway T104/T101MainGUI Server BackupIEC 61850 ClientBayComputerBayComputerBayComputerLegacyIEDLegacyIEDEngineeringStation7561234

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