Ex­pe­ri­ences with IEC 61850 in com­mis­sion­ing a high volt­age re­ac­tor, by Ja­son Bu­neo, Dhan­a­bal Mani and Rene Aguilar, Meg­ger US.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS - By Ja­son Bu­neo, Dhan­a­bal Mani and Rene Aguilar


IEC 61850 en­abled sub­sta­tions are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon. De­spite the many ben­e­fits that re­sult from im­ple­ment­ing the IEC 61850 stan­dard, sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges re­main.

The first edi­tion of the IEC 61850 stan­dard was re­leased in 2005 and adopted by util­i­ties across the world as a vi­able so­lu­tion for sub­sta­tion pro­tec­tion. The stan­dard first came about as sep­a­rate ini­tia­tives. Th­ese in­cluded UCA 2.0 from the Elec­tric Power Re­search In­sti­tute (EPRI), as well as IEC 60870-5101, IEC 60870-5-103, and IEC 60870-5-104 from the In­ter­na­tional Elec­trotech­ni­cal Com­mis­sion. In 1997, the ini­tia­tives were com­bined as part of an in­ter­na­tion­ally agreed process to be­come a full stan­dard.

One of the aims of that process was to al­low com­mu­ni­ca­tion in sub­sta­tions be­tween in­tel­li­gent elec­tronic de­vices (IEDs) orig­i­nat­ing from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers. Prior to the re­lease of the stan­dard, pro­pri­etary net­work pro­to­cols ham­pered com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween com­pet­ing IEDs, with the re­sult that such com­mu­ni­ca­tion was re­duced to ei­ther direct wiring via in­put/out­put con­tacts or the use of low-speed se­rial con­nec­tions.

In con­trast, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the IEC 61850 stan­dard now al­lows sub­sta­tion de­vices to be part of a lo­cal area net­work (LAN) based sub­sta­tion, with high-speed peer-to-peer com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The ad­van­tage of the LAN based ap­proach is that sim­ple or com­plex con­trol schemes can be eas­ily im­ple­mented with­out in­creas­ing the com­plex­ity of the phys­i­cal wiring. In a LAN based pro­tec­tion scheme us­ing the IEC 61850 stan­dard, the pri­mary form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween pro­tec­tive de­vices is the Generic Ob­ject Ori­ented Sub­sta­tion Event, or GOOSE mes­sage.


Com­mis­sion­ing a sub­sta­tion with au­to­ma­tion that in­cludes IEDs com­mu­ni­cat­ing via GOOSE mes­sag­ing proved to be a chal­leng­ing task.

The in­ci­dent

Af­ter com­mis­sion­ing of the sub­sta­tion, an ad­di­tional cir­cuit breaker needed to be added as a log­i­cal node in one of the ICD files pro­tect­ing the shunt re­ac­tor. The new ICD file was up­loaded to the IED. Shortly af­ter, there was an in­ci­dent with the shunt re­ac­tor.

Dur­ing the hottest part of the day and at peak load, a fault oc­curred that trig­gered the sud­den pres­sure alarm. The pres­sure re­lief valve op­er­ated, spray­ing oil over a wide area, and a pres­sure re­lief valve trip sig­nal from the re­ac­tor IED was sent to the bay con­trol IED. How­ever, the bay con­trol failed to send a GOOSE mes­sage to the break­ers re­spon­si­ble for iso­lat­ing the line, and it was nec­es­sary to man­u­ally open the break­ers to clear the fault.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted to de­ter­mine why the break­ers did not op­er­ate prop­erly to clear the fault. It was found that the change made to the bay con­trol IED pro­tect­ing the re­ac­tor meant that this did not have the same sub­sta­tion con­fig­u­ra­tion lan­guage (SCL) file as other IEDs on the sys­tem. Be­cause of this dis­crep­ancy, all of the trip sig­nals from this IED were ig­nored. Since the SCL file from the re­ac­tor IED did not match the file in the other IEDs, as far as the rest of the net­work was con­cerned, GOOSE mes­sages sent from the re­ac­tor IED should be ig­nored.

Cor­rec­tive ac­tion was taken and all of the IEDs were up­dated to the same SCL con­fig­u­ra­tion. The logic was retested and the sub­sta­tion was brought back on­line.


As ac­cep­tance of the IEC 61850 stan­dard be­comes more and more wide­spread, it is im­por­tant to be mind­ful of pre­vi­ous over­sights so that po­ten­tial cat­a­strophic fail­ures can be avoided. Meg­ger has in­tro­duced the SMRT46 and the SMRT410 which pro­vides IEC 61850 test­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The SMRT46 is a mul­ti­pur­pose, light-weight, field portable test set ca­pa­ble of test­ing a wide va­ri­ety of elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal, solid-state and mi­cro­pro­ces­sor-based pro­tec­tive re­lays, mo­tor over­load re­lays and sim­i­lar pro­tec­tive de­vices. The SMRT46 has the “smart” com­bi­na­tion of small size, light weight, with high power.

The SMRT410 pro­vides a com­plete multi-phase test sys­tem for com­mis­sion­ing of pro­tec­tion sys­tems. The SMRT410 VIGEN mod­ules also pro­vide high power in both the volt­age and cur­rent chan­nels to test vir­tu­ally all types of pro­tec­tive re­lays.

The au­thors are (Ja­son Bu­neo) Ap­pli­ca­tions devel­op­ment man­ager, (Dhan­a­bal Mani) Ap­pli­ca­tions devel­op­ment en­gi­neer and (Rene Aguilar) Se­nior ap­pli­ca­tion en­gi­neer, Meg­ger US. For SMRT series de­tails visit en.meg­ger.com

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