NOJA Power unveils support for IEC 61850 on its OSM series Automatic Circuit Reclosers

Set for introduction later in 2014, NOJA Power ACRs implementing a full suite of international standards-based communication protocols will ensure interoperability with IEDs from other manufacturers and assist smart grid integration

Press Release

July 2014
RC OSM Recloser Control & Communications Cubicle

RC OSM Recloser Control & Communications Cubicle

Electrical switchgear engineers NOJA Power today announces support for IEC 61850 on its OSM series Automatic Circuit Reclosers (“auto-recloser” or ACR). IEC 61850 enables fast, reliable communication between the company’s ACRs and Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED) from other manufacturers used in electricity distribution systems.

IEC 61850 is a family of international standards specifying the use of a set of established protocols, including Generic Object-Oriented System Event (GOOSE). (See “About IEC 61850” below.) GOOSE messaging is used for high-speed sharing of process coordination information across Ethernet networks linking IEDs, regardless of the equipment’s manufacturer. (NOJA Power’s RC10 control and communications cubicle for the OSM series has an Ethernet interface fitted as standard.) GOOSE messaging compensates for network variability while protecting data integrity and can be transported over technologies such as WiMax (an IEEE 802.16 wireless-network standard) for communication with IEDs beyond a substation.

NOJA Power's OSM series of medium-voltage (15, 27 and 38 kV) ACRs (see “About the NOJA Power OSM series”) already supports supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) communication between devices and control centres using the IEEE 1815 (DNP3) and IEC 60870-5-101/-104 protocols over serial- or Ethernet-communication channels. In addition, NOJA Power supports direct communication between ACRs for automation coordination using a proprietary protocol. The introduction of IEC 61850––via an upgraded firmware platform for NOJA Power’s ACRs due for release later this year––will complete the suite of communication protocols used in modern networks.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the European- and North American-equipment manufacturers who helped develop IEC 61850 are promoting the family of standards as the basis for communication and control of IEDs and other Distribution Automation (DA) for modern networks. The interoperability that widespread adoption of IEC 61850 bestows is important in the realisation of smart grids––computerised, bidirectional electricity delivery systems that monitor, protect, and automatically optimise the operation of their interconnected elements­­––because it offers the promise to overcome the challenges of integration and testing between systems comprising equipment from different manufacturers.

“IEC 61850 is rapidly gaining unstoppable momentum as the preferred communication and control standard for the smart infrastructure of the future,” says Neil O’Sullivan, CEO, NOJA Power. “Our ACRs are an essential component of smart grids and our customers increasingly expect NOJA Power to support the standard to ensure interoperability between our products and those from other IED manufacturers. With the release of our upgraded firmware platform later this year, we will meet that growing expectation.”

About IEC 61850

IEC 61850 is a family of international standards that specify the use of a set of communication protocols for the integration of all protection, control, measurement and monitoring functions in a modern electricity network. IEC 61850 is being developed and maintained under the auspices of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is part of IEC’s Technical Committee 57’s architecture for electrical power systems. IEC, electrical equipment manufacturers and electrical utilities developed the standard in a collaborative effort dating back to work begun by the North American Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in 1988.

IEC 61850 builds on earlier protocols including Manufacturing Message Specification (MMS) and Generic Object-Oriented System Event (GOOSE). MMS provides the vertical supervisory and control functions that allow devices to record data and then report that data to other equipment while GOOSE is a horizontal process coordination function used for high-speed sharing of information. GOOSE makes provision for the indeterminancy of Ethernet networking and protects the integrity of data.

The majority of modern electricity distribution and transmission infrastructure is operated using one of a small number of standard protocols. In general, these lack the abstract data models that allow IEC 61850 to preserve the original meaning of the information. IEC 61850’s retention of original meaning is important for allowing automated equipment to receive, comprehend, categorise and, critically, act on the information.

The standard is now being extended beyond the original scope of substation automation into the domains of managing wide-area electrical transmission and distribution systems and the control of distributed energy resources, hydro power plants and wind farms. In time it is expected to cover communication for control and monitoring of all aspects of the electrical power system. This extension of IEC 61850 promises to vastly increase communication between, and coordination of, electrical transmission and distribution infrastructure – a vital requirement for the implementation of a smart grid.