Power substation technology has evolved considerably since the first power distribution system went into service in the late 1800’s. Today, several hundred thousand substations of various sizes and varieties are in operation around the world, with both retrofit and new substation projects being initiated with increasing frequency.
Let’s take a close look at the benefits and advantages offered by the IEC 61850 standard. While the prospect of implementing such a complex set of rules, regulations, and stringent specification requirements may at first seem daunting, the advantages by far outweigh the disadvantages. For example, whereas the thousands of devices making up a traditional substation use hard-wired device-to-device connections running relatively low speed serial connections over copper wiring, the IEDs (intelligent electronic devices) in a modern IEC 61850 substation connect to a high-speed Ethernet bus, making it relatively easy to implement a comprehensive management, maintenance, and control strategy via a centralized power SCADA system.
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