Standards support Smart Grid architecture

IEC International Standards will play critical role in Smart Grid power supply and distribution infrastructures

By Antoinette Price

Information is gathered and decision making occurs at substation level in Smart Grids. The electricity-dispatching control centre deals with the strategic management of grid intelligence, while automated management handles transmission and distribution. An intelligent substation reports electricity consumption, switchboard operation, information gathering, and station decision making back to the electricity dispatching control centre. Generally, substations are unattended and rely on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) for remote supervision and control.

House_connected_smart_grid Smart homes connect into the Smart Grid

Complex workings behind the scenes

In order to work smoothly, Smart Grids need a strong network and communications infrastructure. Interoperability is essential for automated power systems. This applies to communication between utilities and users and requires the adoption of similar technologies on both sides, at least in terms of communication systems (protocols, data).

Established in 1964, IEC Technical Committee (TC) 57: Power system management and associated information exchange, develops International Standards in the field of communications between the equipment and systems for the electric power process.

These systems include energy management systems (EMS), SCADA, distribution automation and teleprotection. They also comprise associated information exchange for real-time and non-real-time information, used in the planning, operation and maintenance of power systems.

IEC TC 57 also works with other TCs, some of which contribute towards Smart Grid issues, such as IEC TC 69: Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks, Project Committee (PC) 118:  Smart grid user interface, and IEC TC 120: Electrical Energy Storage (EES) Systems.

A key IEC Standard for Smart Grids

From 18-20 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the third annual IEC 61850 Europe 2016 conference, exhibition and networking forum in Amsterdam, will provide detailed implementation insights, operations and maintenance guidance, technology innovation updates for the implementation of strategies for multi-vendor, multi-edition IEC 61850 architectures across Smart Grids. The IEC 61850 series of Standards covers communication networks and systems for power utility automation and was developed by IEC TC 57.

Extensive structure and participation

In addition to Smart Grids, IEC TC 57 Working Groups (WGs) cover:

  • WG 3: Telecontrol protocols
  • WG 9: Distribution automation using distribution line carrier systems
  • WG 10: Power system intelligent electronic device (IED) communication and associated data models
  • WG 13: Energy management system application programme interface (EMS - API)
  • WG 14: System interfaces for distribution management (SIDM)
  • WG 15: Data and communication security
  • WG 16: Deregulated energy market communications
  • WG 17: Communications systems for distributed energy resources (DER)
  • WG 18: Hydroelectric power plants – Communication for monitoring and control
  • WG 19: Interoperability within TC 57 on long term
  • WG 20: Planning of (single-sideband) power line carrier systems
  • WG 21: Interfaces and protocol profiles relevant to systems connected to the electrical grid
Cars_recharge_smart_grid Cars plug into the grid to recharge their batteries
House_connected_smart_grid Smart homes connect into the Smart Grid
smart_grid_residential_energy_metre Smart meters provide site-specific measurements of energy consumed