IEC 61850 "plug fest" and Training

UCA International and Entergy Corporation sponsored the first North America IEC 61850 Interoperability Testing “plug fest” and training in New Orleans October 12-18, 2017. This was the fourth IOP since 2011 and was the most ambitious. Entergy, the local utility company has been evaluating the IEC 61850 standard and has piloted a multivendor system in a substation in New Orleans. Entergy also organized the IEC TC57 WG10 meeting following the “plug fest.”

Mark McCulla, Entergy’s vice president of transmission operations and Willie Wilson, Entergy’s director of transmission engineering, were the opening keynote presenters for the event, More than 200 attendees and representatives from 45 companies from approximately 14 countries participated.

The IOP built an integrated application, including three different security zones/local area networks. The zones represented a control center and two substations supporting process bus and station bus using redundancy technologies of PRP and HSR. Over this infrastructure, an integrated application was designed. The detailed design started on October 17, and performed a typical trip, protection and transfer trip based upon GOOSE between security zones. The design included seventy-five multi-vendor applications and devices. Several problems were discovered with the communication network deployment and the application engineering activity exposed several issues requiring clarification in the relevant IEC 61850 standards.

Many of the issues found in the IOP this year were related to system configuration. While IEC 61850-6 defines the language used to describe system configuration, the specific requirements for particular applications come from several other parts - IEC 61850-7-x describe the abstract services, data models and concepts. IEC 61850-8-x describe the SCSMs, and so on. The requirements from the respective parts must be followed when creating the SCL files that describe the devices and systems in IEC 61850. WG10 received this feedback and concluded that improved cross references to requirements in other parts is needed. Many updates to the standards were made to reflect this. These updates have been made as part of IEC 61850-6 Amendment 1 (a.k.a. Edition 2.1).

Additionally, it is intended to schedule a SCL Engineering Tool IOP in 2018. The lessons learned from this IOP will be applied to the preparation of the next IOP intended to be held in 2019.

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