IEC 61850 Update Industry Updates

IEC TC 57 WG 17 Update

The pandemic is drastically changing the way standardization is working, but Does it really affect its efficiency?

by Laurent Guise, France

IEC TC 57 WG 17 is in charge of power system intelligent electronic device communication and associated data models for microgrids, distributed energy resources and distribution automation.

TC57 WG17 (and TC57 WG10) groups used to have the international physical meetings planned a year in advance, normally spread over the whole planet to facilitate the physical presence of experts from all nations.

However, the pandemics forces these organizations to cancel these meetings at least on short term, and to transform them into remote meetings.

This has been true for all standardization groups.

The question remains whether this has reduced the efficiency of the work being done.

Let’s take the case of TC57 WG17, working on the following hot topics:

  • The assessment of the 150 comments received on the IEC 61850-7-420 Edition 2 CDV, related to DER and their integration to the grid, is going quite well, thanks to the weekly web meetings. Some remaining modelling difficult questions on how to document the main concepts, lead to intense remote discussions
  • The drafting of the coming IEC 61850-7-520, of few use cases for providing examples as concrete as possible on how to best use the set of bricks exposed in 61850-7-520 is also happening through web meetings. The momentum remains excellent
  • The drafting on modelling extensions to support microgrids (IEC 61850-90-23) is going forward
  • The writing of a new IEC 61850 extensions for supporting thermal energy DER (IEC 61850-90-27), lead by Germany and Japan, is progressing very well, and is showing how agile the IEC 61850 modelling concepts to address new domains are
  • The cooperation with EV specialists on identifying the “DER-related requirements” in the context of EV smart charging, is also gathering many experts from many countries

So finally, everything seems to be keeping an excellent speed and level of motivation of all the experts engaged in this process.

Maybe, the only painful aspect is due to the fact that the earth is not flat, not flat at all!

And all the experts from Asia need to accept having to work very late, very often in addition to their normal working hours, and the Americans to accept having to work very early with the same impact as well!

At the end the ones who are the less affected are the European experts, being in the middle of the two extremes of our round earth!

To conclude, working through these pandemic conditions would have been great if the earth was flat. Who should we talk to about flattening the Earth?


Laurent Guise graduated from the Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité (ESE SUPELEC Engineering school) and has been working for Schneider Electric in electrical network protection, monitoring and control systems for more than 20 years. Within Schneider-Electric, Laurent has been awarded the distinction of a Master Expert in Smart Grids and IEC 61850. He is leading, at the corporate level, the definition, coordination, and implementation of the smart grid standardization policy. Laurent is the convener of IEC TC 57 WG 17 in charge of feeder automation based on the leading IEC 61850 standard. He also leads the group in charge of the IEC roadmap within the IEC Smart Energy System Committee. At the European level, he chairs the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid Coordination Group in charge of ensuring the availability of the appropriate set of standards to support smart grid deployment in Europe.