Improving IEC 61850 interoperability and simplifying IED configuration through the standardisation of protection settings

Hong, Q. and Catterson, V.M. and Blair, S.M. and Dyśko, A. and Booth, C.D. and Rahman, T. (2014) Improving IEC 61850 interoperability and simplifying IED configuration through the standardisation of protection settings. In: CIGRE Session 2014, 2014-08-24 - 2014-08-30.

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One of the key benefits of IEC 61850 is that it can facilitate interoperability between Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) from different vendors. However, at present, the scope of interoperability is constrained to communications data, such as Sampled Value (SV) and Generic Object Oriented Substation Events (GOOSE) messaging, and has not been extended to protection setting information. The protection functions are implemented using proprietary parameters and are typically stored in vendor-specific binary files, which make it very difficult to manipulate these data directly from external applications. Engineers must also understand the meaning and implications of modification of all proprietary setting parameters and often need to be trained in the use of vendor-specific tools, which is time consuming and potentially increases the risk of introducing protection setting errors. Furthermore, the existing IED configuration process is complex, involves many steps, and requires the use of various software tools. To address these problems, this paper proposes the use of the IEC 61850 data model and System Configuration description Language (SCL) to represent protection settings. The proprietary protection settings data are mapped to the IEC 61850 standardised data and saved as SCL files. The common representation of protection settings in SCL files can also be interpreted and converted back to proprietary settings, thus achieving protection setting interoperability. A prototype tool that implements the process has been developed and demonstrated by the authors. In the paper, the entire process is described using examples. The SCL files, based on an XML syntax that can be easily manipulated automatically by applications such as protection coordination tools, are used to streamline the existing IED configuration process. A simplified IED configuration process using the SCL based setting files is proposed in the paper. Compared with the existing process, the new process is significantly streamlined, and permits an IED-independent system configuration tool to carry out the entire configuration process. No proprietary software or communications are needed. It also allows the protection settings to be performed at a system level, rather than individually on a “per device” basis. The key challenges that must be addressed in order for the proposed process to be widely adopted are: the IEC 61850 data model for protection settings is not complete; vendors may prefer to maintain proprietary formats; the data model should have the capability to be extended for future protection functions. This paper reports the progress towards addressing these challenges.