Substation Automation Systems (SAS) with Protection, Automation and Control (PAC) have become increasingly complex. Traditionally, during commissioning and maintenance the focus has been on testing the protection system and its settings. On the other hand, testing the communication and proper operation of all signals transmitted to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems is at least as important. But, because of the increasing complexity, testing the automation and communication system consumes even more time than testing the protection.
The way out is a new approach that can be used in all phases of the lifecycle of SAS. By utilizing the capabilities of the IEC 61850 engineering process and the data available in Substation Configuration Description (SCD) files, it is possible to introduce new and more efficient methods for Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) and Site Acceptance Testing (SAT). This paper describes the different phases in the life cycle of modern SAS and presents the technical realization of a comprehensive and easy to use solution.