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Automating substations
Shinkansen Totsuka feeding electrical substationsˆ

The IEC is working on a new standard which aims to define the configuration languages required to achieve digital substations, including the human machine interface (HMI) applications. The planned document, which is currently being drafted, will be part of the IEC 61850 series of publications, which includes some of the core international standards used for integrating digital communication processes into the electrical grid.

One of the objectives of the publication is to automatically generate the HMI application, including all the associated data mappings and graphical renderings. This effectively dispenses operators, engineers or technicians from carrying out a manual configuration of the substation system and therefore saves time and cost for utilities by using resources more efficiently.

It also removes the risk of human error. “You could call it ‘magical engineering’: instead of taking weeks, sometimes even months, to configure the HMI applications, it literally will take minutes and even seconds for smaller substations,” says Dustin Tessier, who leads the task force responsible for the new standard project at the IEC.

The task force has circulated the second draft of the standard in May. The aim is to publish the new document in 2022.

IEC 61850-6-2 intends to support data-driven configurations using a combination of three configuration languages (GCL, HCL, SCL), which will allow a large portion of the HMI to be automatically configured using standard configuration files. The HMI is an engineering intensive application, and this standard aims to minimize the amount of engineering effort,” Tessier explains.

“The idea is to place the engineering burden on the tools and not the users/technicians. We believe IEC 61850-6-2 will have a significant impact on global grid modernization efforts and predict it to be a key component to any digital substation. With the support of the Standards Council of Canada, we are proud to be leading this global initiative,” adds Ryan Baht, one of the experts developing the new standard inside TC 57.

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