Save Time During IEC 61850 Factory Acceptance Testing

October 4, 2021

The energy supplier Stadtwerke Kempen GmbH (Germany) not only wanted to meet the highest possible safety standards in the new construction of a 10 kV medium-voltage substation, but also to be prepared for all conceivable operating conditions in the future. In order to meet this requirement, the decision was made in favor of modern digital substation communication in accordance with IEC 61850.

Since Stadtwerke did not have the necessary know-how to set up such a system at the beginning of the project, OMICRON was called in to support the project and for the subsequent commissioning test. For the IEC 61850 tests, the test solution StationScout was used, in which two employees of the municipal utility were additionally trained. The actual factory acceptance tests were then carried out jointly under OMICRON's leadership.

We talked to Reinhard Bretzke, head of the power supply division and responsible project manager at Stadtwerke Kempen, about the collaboration.

Mr. Bretzke, Stadtwerke Kempen involved OMICRON in the project at a very early stage - what were the considerations behind this?

At the beginning, we simply lacked experience with the technology and so we looked around for a competent partner. With OMICRON it was easily possible to prepare the required SCD file (System Configuration Description) according to the IEC standard and for use with the test solution StationScout. This had the advantage that the coordination and structure of the resulting SCD file for the future overall system could be discussed right from the start with the manufacturer of the protective devices, who also performs the IEC 61850 parameterization.

In order to be able to commission the new substation as trouble-free as possible, a factory acceptance test (FAT) was carried out beforehand. What findings did this step provide?

During the factory acceptance test at the beginning of July 2021, the parameterization of the entire system was tested with StationScout for the first time. All interlocking conditions and test sequences were prepared by OMICRON for StationScout - for the interlocking specifications, there was a standardized test sequence for each bay type. In addition, OMICRON added the primary switchgear of the new substation to the SCD file for a better overview of the entire substation. StationScout was thus able to quickly identify where there was still a need for action on the part of the IEC 61850 parameterization. All interlocking conditions of the later complete system could then be checked very easily and automatically using StationScout.

What were the sticking points in the factory acceptance test?

Great attention was paid to the testing of the reverse interlocking: By use of a CMC test set, all conceivable network faults were generated in the protection device of an outgoing feeder bay and the reaction to the protection device of the busbar feeder was tested - the increase of the tripping time for the busbar protection was expected in case of a protection excitation of an outgoing feeder bay in forward direction. The signal for the reverse interlocking, which is sent to the protection devices in the feeders via GOOSE communication, was represented here with StationScout and the running times were measured with the CMC. The complex range of function for the reverse interlocking of the entire system could thus be fully tested.

What is your provisional conclusion on the current status of the project?

The test system StationScout gives us the possibility of a fully comprehensive test of our future complete system without having to be on site in the substation. With a good feeling and extended knowledge of the functions and behavior, the final test of the completed substation is expected. We are thrilled that OMICRON's testing technology will save a considerable amount of time, both during factory acceptance and later in the real substation. For future diagnostics of the IEC 61850 environment, StationScout will remain in a rack in the new substation - right next to StationGuard, OMICRON's Intrusion Detection System (IDS).

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