Substation Automation Systems – Future possibilities for commissioning

Williams, Shane, Kenwrick, Anthony, Rappolt, Justin, & Nourbakhsh, Ghavameddin (2015) Substation Automation Systems – Future possibilities for commissioning. In South East Asia Protection and Automation Conference (SEAPAC 2015), 17-18 March 2015, Sydney, Australia.


Substation Automation Systems have undergone many transformational changes triggered by improvements in technologies. Prior to the digital era, it made sense to confirm that the physical wiring matched the schematic design by meticulous and laborious point to point testing. In this way, human errors in either the design or the construction could be identified and fixed prior to entry into service. However, even though modern secondary systems today are largely computerised, we are still undertaking commissioning testing using the same philosophy as if each signal were hard wired. This is slow and tedious and doesn’t do justice to modern computer systems and software automation.

One of the major architectural advantages of the IEC 61850 standard is that it “abstracts” the definition of data and services independently of any protocol allowing the mapping of them to any protocol that can meet the modelling and performance requirements. On this basis, any substation element can be defined using these common building blocks and are made available at the design, configuration and operational stages of the system. The primary advantage of accessing data using this methodology rather than the traditional position method (such as DNP 3.0) is that generic tools can be created to manipulate data. Self-describing data contains the information that these tools need to manipulate different data types correctly. More importantly, self-describing data makes the interface between programs robust and flexible.

This paper proposes that the improved data definitions and methods for dealing with this data within a tightly bound and compliant IEC 61850 Substation Automation System could completely revolutionise the need to test systems when compared to traditional point to point methods. Using the outcomes of an undergraduate thesis project, we can demonstrate with some certainty that it is possible to automatically test the configuration of a protection relay by comparing the IEC 61850 configuration extracted from the relay against its SCL file for multiple relay vendors. The software tool provides a quick and automatic check that the data sets on a particular relay are correct according to its CID file, thus ensuring that no unexpected modifications are made at any stage of the commissioning process. This tool has been implemented in a Java programming environment using an open source IEC 61850 library to facilitate the server-client association with the relay.

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ID Code: 85036
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: IEC 61850, Testing, OpenMUC
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 CIGRE Australia
Deposited On: 29 Jun 2015 23:43
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2015 04:46

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