Cover Story

Time in IEC 61850 based substation protection and control systems

by Alexander Apostolov. USA

Protection, automation and control applications are some of the key components in the reliable and secure operation of the evolving grids of the twenty first century. The complexity of today’s electric power grid and its changing dynamic characteristics together with the rapid development of computer and communication technologies resulted in the transition from the conventional hard-wired protection, automation and control systems to IEC 61850 based solutions in digital substations.
Time plays an important role in everything in our lives. It is used to establish when an event will occur and what its duration will be, to measure the duration of events and the time interval between them, to synchronize multiple devices so they can work together as components of a system and many others.
That is why the development of the IEC 61850 standard had to consider the requirements for time in the data and object models, as well as in the communications services’ definitions.
At the same time, the standard must adapt to the developments in time synchronization technology and how it can be implemented in the different protection, automation and control systems. More

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