An update on the status of IEC 61850

Author: Christoph Brunner, Switzerland

An update on the status of IEC 61850

The Edition 2 of the first parts of the standard has made progress. All the parts that provide the major specifications have finally been published. Outstanding are the parts 1, 3, 5 and 10. Part 1 is ready to be circulated as DTR, part 5 is ready as FDIS. For part 3 the CDV is in preparation while for part 10, the FDIS is in preparation. Part 9-1 has been withdrawn.

Besides this, WG 10 of IEC TC57 is working on many other topics that will result in the publication of technical reports.
The part 90-1, use of IEC 61850 for communication between substations has been published some time ago and the conclusions have already been integrated into the Edition 2 documents of the core parts.

The part 90-5 - use of IEC 61850 to transmit synchrophasor information is as well completed and should be published soon by IEC. Early this spring, several drafts should be circulated:

  • A first draft of the part 90-2 addressing the communication between substations and control centers with IEC 61850
  • A first draft of part 90-3 dealing with object models for condition monitoring
  • The draft technical report of part 90-4,  the network engineering guidelines for substation LAN

Finally, we expect a first draft of part 7-500, guidelines on modeling applications for substation automation with the LNs defined in part 7-4 to be issued as a first draft in the summer of 2012.

Progress has as well been made with the preparation of a UML model for all the logical nodes and common data classes. It is planned to soon publish a version of IEC 61850-7-4 that has been automatically created from the UML model. It will include the clean-up of inconsistencies and ambiguities that have been discovered while preparing the UML model.

Many new activities have been started in the last 18 months that will result in further technical reports or specifications:

  • Modeling logics with 61850 (part 90-11)
  • Network engineering guidelines for WAN (part 90-12) 
  • Functional testing (part 100-1) already got preliminary document numbers assigned
  • Other reports will address modeling of FACTS, Alarm handling and system management

But not only WG10 is busy. WG17 is working on progressing IEC 61850 as a standard for Smart Grids. Besides preparing Edition 2 of part 7-420, the WG is preparing a series of technical reports with new application models:

  • Part 90-7 for inverter based applications like photo voltaic
  • Part 90-8 for electrical vehicles
  • Part 90-9 for storage of electrical energy
  • Part 90-10 for schedules

In addition to this, WG17 is preparing a mapping on web services that is intended to be published as part 8-2. Currently, the requirements of the different applications are collected.
Finally, a task force is looking at the aspects of modeling the external view of a DER system. So far, the focus of the DER modeling was on the internal view providing all the DER technology specific information. But if a DER system participates in e.g. a virtual power plant, the information to be provided shall be independent from the technology - it is mainly electrical characteristics and setpoints.

WG18 is close to finalizing  the Edition 2 of part 7-410 and to publishing 7-510, guidelines for modeling hydro power plant control systems. They as well initiated new work on interoperability testing and on preparing models for steam and gas turbines.

Finally, the IEC TC88 initiated the work to revise the 61400-25 series, which is the 61850 based communications for wind power.  The revision will be made by a joint WG of TC88 and TC57.
So - much is going on. If you are not a member of a working group   ask your national committee of IEC for the drafts of the documents, and provide your comments.
And if you want me to discuss a particular activity in more details in one of the upcoming columns, drop an  e-mail to PAC world.


Christoph Brunner graduated as an Electrical Engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1983. He is President of it4power in Zug, Switzerland. Before, he worked as a project manager at ABB Switzerland Ltd in the business area Power Technology Products in Zurich where he was responsible for the communication architecture of the substation automation system. He is Convenor of working group (WG) 10 and member of WG 17, 18 and 19 of IEC TC57. He is an IEEE Fellow. As a member of IEEE-PES and IEEE-SA, he is active in several working groups of the IEEE-PSRC. He is International Advisor to the board of the UCA International Users Group.