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Interoperable information and

communication technologies from the

electricity socket up to the network control
Ch. Brunner, IT4Power, Switzerland
B. M. Buchholz, NTB Technoservice,
A. Naumann, Otto von Guericke University

The enhancement of distribution networks into smart grids is accompanied by new functions
and technologies like:

Energy management on distribution level,

Distribution system automation,

Smart metering,

Smart building automation and involvement of consumers into the energy market.

All these technologies require an intensive exchange of data. As a consequence, the

information and communication technology (ICT) will penetrate the distribution systems
down to the end customers (Consumers and/or producers) on the low voltage network.
Today on the different control levels of electric networks various communication protocols
and information systems are applied. The data models and services of these systems are
different and do not allow seamless information exchange between the levels:

Network control center substations, traders, power plants and virtual power plants

Inside the substations,

Substation medium and low voltage (MV and LV) distribution networks and its
consumers and power producers,

Inside the buildings and industrial enterprises.

As a result of the analysis, the demand of information exchange of all participating clients is
defined. The function, the integration into the ICT system and the services of new
stakeholders in the smart grid environment like Virtual Power Plants, ICT provider or
Metering service provider are considered.
For economic reasons, the communication technology in the distribution level should be
based on the existing infrastructure. Depending on the location the most economic technology
can be applied like Distribution Line Carrier (DLC), radio, telecommunication cables (copper
ore fiber optics).
Otherwise there is a strong need that the data models and the services of the communication
system will be uniform for the overall network control and data acquisition. The paper
describes how the data models and services of IEC 61850 will be applied for this purpose.

The power network wide application of IEC 61850 data models and services shall be
supported by standards for gateways:

To home automation and smart meters (were simplified models and services are applied),

To data base systems using Common Information Models (CIM / IEC 61968).

Relevant efforts in the IEC working groups are considered. Recommendations about further
standardization efforts are given.
Finally, the paper describes the pilot application Web2Energy - a European lighthouse
project funded by the European Commission.
1. Smart Distribution
The establishment of Smart Grids in the distribution level is driven by the European Targets
20-20-20 in 2020 what means 20 % reduction of carbon emissions, 20 % share of renewable
energy in the primary energy balance and 20 % increase of energy efficiency. A significant
contribution to achieve these targets will come from a new quality of distribution networks
providing the three pillars of Smart Distribution systems:

Smart Terminal: Self-healing capabilities for the distribution networks based on ICTenabled response and thus automated fault elimination in MV feeders to increase the
reliability of supply significantly.

Smart Aggregation: Active distribution networks with flexible and reconfigurable

aggregation and management of distributed secure and unsecure (fluctuating) power
sources, storage and controllable loads in virtual power plants. The goal is to reach an
optimum combination of environmental protection (lower CO2 emissions) and
economical value.

Smart Metering: Customer integration into the electricity market by variable tariffs
effecting efficient demand-side management and response to improve the efficiency of
energy production, to achieve energy savings and to reduce peak power demand, leading
to lower system costs and improved embedding of renewable energy sources.

The new functions are demonstrated in Figure 1.

smart terminal

smart energy

smart metering





Home automation

Remote reading of short

circuit indication
Remote control of switches
Shorting supply
interruptions after faults
from hour to minutes

Aggregation of dispersed
generation with and without
secure production for flexible
market participation
System service provision
Scheduling and balancing

Market integration of
consumers - motivation for
load shifting through
variable tariffs
Higher efficiency of
metering processes

Figure 1 The pillars of smart distribution

The realization of the 3 pillars of smart distribution requires the wide spread implementation
of advanced technologies which are still not broadly applied today:

Smart meters which are remotely readable and which can operate with variable tariffs
through receiving and visualizing tariff signals,

Communication facilities for data exchange on all levels of the power system down to the
LV consumers,

Building automation facilities to achieve higher efficiency of electricity use in households,

business and industry.

In the first priority, communication links have to be established until the last meters to
2. New quality of information exchange in the distribution level
Today, an ICT infrastructure for control and supervision of distribution networks is not
widely and extensively applied to the medium and low voltage levels. Communication for
power system control currently ends at the MV- busbars of the substations 110 kV/ MV.
Secondly, the existing communication networks for control in the upper level of the power
system are mostly owned by the grid operators. Different communication standards are
applied for different control levels like:

inside the substation,

between substation and network control centre,

or for different equipment like

protection relays,


switchgear and transformers.

The current situation is shown

hown on the left side of Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Communication in power systems today and in the future

The current situation causes high engineering efforts for converting between the various
communication levels.
els. Various interface testers and diagnosis tools have to be applied. In the
future the communication has to move down and cover the whole distribution system.
Furthermore, uniform data models and services have to be used an all levels. Thirdly, in the
distribution level public communication networks should be used adapting the locally
available and most economical communication physics e.g. power line carrier,
telecommunication cables or radio.
In the normal case, several telecommunication
telecommunication providers cover the areas of the distribution
networks. They are able to take over the functions of Communication Providers for Smart
Distribution. The stakeholders of the electricity business in distribution systems like the
trader, the distribution network operator or the virtual power plant operator should conclude a

common contract with the communication provider in their area offering the best ratio of
prices and services.
The meters and the remote terminal units on the consumer or producer side build
the data
servers which will use a dedicated or a dial up connection. The communication provider
should offer flat- rates for both types of connections.

Figure 3 Data content for information exchange

The data which will bee exchanged between the clients (control levels) and the servers is
presented in Figure 3.
3. IEC 61850 - the core standard of Smart Grids
Today, we can see worldwide a broad consensus that the data models and services of IEC
61850 will
ll be used in the smart distribution grids. The reasons for this trend are obviously:

IEC 61850 is the first communication standard for power automation which is globally

IEC 61850 provides generic object oriented and self describing data models based on
logical nodes
des (LN) attributes and data classes.

The data models are open for any extension if requested in the future.

IEC 61850 is open for new communication physics and link layers.

The services of the previous standards are not only kept but significantly
significantly improved and
extended. The GOOSE service, for example, allows a quick peer- to- peer communication
and lead to a fundamental improvement of the performance.

The technical committees of IEC are working on standard extensions for further
applications like power quality, dispersed generation, hydro power plants and
wind power plants. The standardization process is still ongoing.

In this sense, the IEC 61850 application layer is suitable for combination with different
physical and application
plication layers as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Reference
rence model of IEC 61850 using various layers 1 and 2

On the left side of Figure 4 the current coverage of the OSI/ISO layers is shown in accordance
with the mapping on Ethernet as it is defined in IEC 61850-8-11 for substations.
The application in distribution networks can use all types of physical media. A specific
communication mappingg will adapt the layer 7 for a seamless interaction with the lower
layers. But the data models (IEC 61850-7-4xx
and IEC 61850-7-3) and the abstract services
(ACSI - abstract communication service interface - IEC 61850-7-2) will be kept identical.
In this way
ay it can be ensured that the communication uses the same semantic for all servers
and clients in the substations and in the distribution level. Furthermore, the way to apply the
most economical communication channel which is available in the infrastructure of the supply
area is now open!
One of the first projects applying IEC 61850 to provide the complete functions of smart
distribution is the project Web2Energy
Web2Energy [1] which is funded by the European Commission.
The reference architecture of the whole information and communication system (ICT)
developed for this pilot application is presented in Figure 5.
This figure demonstrates that IEC 61850 is the core standard for communication. However,
the complete ICT system needs more.

First of all, the security and the performance of information exchange shall be on a high level
smart and fulfill advanced expectations. Therefore, the standard IEC TS62351 defines the
needed approaches and requests that this part of smartness will be achieved also.
Secondly, the stakeholders of the power supply process (on the terminology of
communication: clients) use data base system for operations. In the past each vendor
emented its own data base with proprietary formats forr different applications like
SCADA, Geographical information system (GIS),
(GIS) Asset
et Management or network planning.
However, a big amount of data is relevant for different data bases and if one data will be
changed than it had to be done in several applications
applications with different data formats in the same
time. This variety of data bases inside one
on enterprise often leads to inconsistency
consistency of data in
the various applications. To overcome this issue, IEC 61968 defines UML based Common
Information Models (CIM) for all data requested in the distribution network management [2].

Figure 5 ICT reference architecture of Web2Energy

The project Web2Energy will use the CIM model in the data bases of all stakeholders. A data
exchange between the data bases will be possible without any conversion.
A further issue is the fact that meters still use their own communication protocols partly
based on standards, partly proprietary protocols depending on the vendor and the sales region.
The same situation is valid in the area of building automation. A market participation of the
electricity consumers will include the action of an energy butler. This intelligent electronic
device controls the internal generation / storage units and some switchable devices in the
households where the time of operation is not important for life convenience like wash
machines, dish washers,, air conditioners
conditioner or heaters.

Based on price signals from the higher communication level the butler ensures an optimum
atio of services and costs inside the households or in the industry. The complete ICT system
has to consider the variety of these influences to become seamless.
4. Gateways
4.1. IEC 61850 data model - CIM data management
The data management of all clients in project Web2Energy is consequently based on the
common information models. Consequently, the incoming and outgoing information to and
from the other system components has to be converted between IEC 61850 and CIM.

Figure 6 Relation between CIM and IEC 61850 modeling

The data model of IEC 61850 presents the current value and metadata of this value.
In Figure 6 a metered value is presented by the Logical Node MMTR for meter, the data class
TotWh for metered
ed energy and the attributes actVal the actual value expressed in the
number of counted pulses, pulsQty the puls quality in Wh/puls, Units to define the applied
units e.g. in accordance with the SI system and finally t - the time stamp.
The amount of data in the CIM data base is significantly higher the general meter
information is stored and the actual metered value builds only a pixel in the whole
presentation of the meter.

The IEC 61850 CIM Converter has to define the locality of the submitted values and adapt
them how it is shown in Figure 6. The Web2Energy project will develop standard converters
for these gateway functions.
4.2. Meter and smart building communication
Currently there is no chance to implement IEC 61850 at the communication levels of meters
and building automation. The communication at these levels should be simple services and
openness of data models dont play a role. For this reason a large amount of proprietary
solutions and standards was developed and applied.
On the other side, the amount of data which is common on the lower levels of meters or
building automation and network control is low. In principle, it contains the metered values,
the price signals and the tariff forecast much less in comparison with the thousands of data
required for power system control.

Figure 7 - Gateways between meter/ building communication and the system WAN based on IEC 61850

The energy butler in the buildings in principle needs only the tariff signal and the tariff
forecast from the system level. It can be received directly from the WAN or through the
meters as shown in Figure 7.
The meters communicate inside a closed system to a data server. Meters of other media like
water, gas, heat are incorporated in this system.
Therefore, in the project Web2Energy the converter for IEC 61850 based provision of
metered values to the clients is allocated in the data server.

Nowadays, there run activities to define a common simple and efficient communication
structure for the multi-utility metering [3-5]. In Europe the favorites are the M-Bus (wire and
wireless) with SML in the application level. Hopefully, in the field of building
communication favorites like KNX [6] or Bacnet [7] can achieve in mid- term the status of
common standards in Europe as well.
5. Common data models from the consumer socket up to Control centers
The application of IEC 61850 as a core standard of Smart Grids is strongly supported by
several working groups in IEC.
Today it is possible to use the common data models in all levels of power system control as
presented in Figure 8.

Figure 8 - Coverage of the power system levels by common data models

At the level between substations and Control centers a global and widespread use found the
standard IEC 60870-5-101 (point to point) and -104 (WAN). The weakness of this standard is
that the data have to be defined in the engineering process by assignment of numbers
uniform on both sides. This approach requires expensive engineering and leads often to
But it is more expensive to change the running communication systems and to introduce IEC
61850 with all its convenient services. The short term solution is now offered by IEC 6185080-1: Mapping the data models of IEC 61850 to the structures of IEC 60870-5-101/4.

In the lower levels new consistent data models are brought to standards for hydro power
plants, for dispersed generation and for wind power plants as shown in Figure 8.
IEC is still open to take off further data models if the need is demonstrated in pilot projects.
This extension is a further target of the Web2Energy project.
Today, the working group (WG) 10 of the IEC technical committee (TC) 57 is responsible for
all the generic parts of IEC 61850 that are not domain specific as well as for the parts related
to the substation automation. For other domain specific parts, specific working groups exist:

WG17 for dispersed generation

WG18 for hydro power plants

TC88 / Project team 25 for wind power plants

It is planned, to establish a coordination group to ensure consistency of the modeling across

the different working groups. It is as well intended to publish in the future the complete set of
data models for the different domains as a database. This as well to facilitate the reuse of
already defined models from one domain in another domain e.g. elements that have already
been defined in the context of hydro power generation may be reused for thermal or nuclear
These activities show: In the context of Smart Grids, the interoperable data exchange over
all levels from the electricity socket up to the network control center is toady a reachable
6. Application of IEC 61850 Data Models for Smart Distribution
In the framework of the lighthouse project Web2Energy the data models for implementation
of the 3 pillars of smart distribution are defined in accordance with Figure 3. A standard data
model exists in the published documents for the most of data to be exchanged.

Figure 9 Three pillars of smart distribution and the relevant data models - examples

However, each of the application requires more or less new data models. Figure 9 presents a
comparison of some available and additionally proposed data models used in Web2Energy.
Web2Energy has the target to extend the related standards accordingly.
7. New service providers in the environment of smart distribution
Smart Meters with communication facilities are offered on the markets for other media as
well. Advanced concepts are focused on a common multi-utility
multi utility data acquisition and
distribution to the relevant stakeholders.
stakeholders The communication of the various meters is
i bundled
via a multi-utility
utility controller MUC as presented in Figure 10 [5]. At this level the meter
protocols are applied.

Figure 10 System with data acquisition from various multi-utility


The metering
ing service provider is responsible for the data acquisition of the metered values. At
the next level the information provider selects the required data for the various stakeholder
functions, e.g. trader, VPP or DNO on the electricity supply field and converts
erts the
compressed data into the IEC 61850 protocol. The information provider serves other markets
in the same way: selection and compression of the required data for each stakeholder with the
subsequent conversion into the requested communication protocols.
A further market role is the ICT provider who offers the requested physical infrastructure for

8. Conclusions
A first experience regarding the implementation of the 3 pillars of smart distribution is
achieved in the European Lighthouse project Web2Energy by strictly use of the most
advanced IEC standards for communication and data management. Today the standards do
not cover the whole amount of information which is requested in the practice. The need for
further extension is considered.
The pilot applications are necessary

to qualify the standardization work,

to investigate new approaches and services including the relevant business models

to recognize legal and regulatory barriers and demonstrate alternatives

In the context of Smart Grids, the interoperable data exchange over all levels from the
electricity socket up to the network control center is toady a reachable target.
9. References

[2], SmartGrids Strategic Deployment document, Deployment Case 4.