Past Projects

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System Integration & FAT of California’s Largest Digital Substation Evaluation

California (USA)

Tesco provided engineering services for a large utility in California for their Digital Substation Project. Tesco’s scope included development of test plans, configurations, and testing of a fully digital substation based off of IEC 61850. A complete Process Bus design using multiple vendors was configured and tested, utilizing Sampled Values (mixed IEC 61869-9 and 9-2LE profiles), GOOSE, MMS, PTP and PRP. The testing included full IEC 61850 interface testing, and protection scheme testing for a complete substation, with a particular focus on negative tests.

IEC 61850 University Recent Training Events

Global training – delivered in-person or virtually

Visit our new IEC 61850 University website for details on some of our recent training events.

IEC 61850 Optical CT Pilot Project

California (USA)

The scope of this project included replacing a 115kV circuit breaker and upgrading one set of current transformers to use optical sensing technology and IEC 61850 sampled values. A SEL 421SV (publisher) was used as the merging unit, and a SEL 421SV relay (subscriber) was used as the protection IED. The protection IED also subscribed to the fiber optic current transformer (NCIT), an ABB FOCS unit. Tesco’s resources supported the engineering and testing activities, including the interfaces to the utility’s RTAC. Additionally, in order to support the utility’s existing substation automation infrastructure, a Modbus interface to the SEL 421SV relay was configured for automation functions such as reclosing.

IEC 61850 System Specification Development, Standards and Process Development

New York (USA)

Tesco provided on-site training to multiple groups of engineers and technicians through the IEC 61850 University, utilizing our Mobile Digital Substation, and provided an in-depth introduction to the capabilities of the utility’s selected system specification and system configuration tool. Tesco facilitated the system modeling and creation of a system specification description (SSD) of a technology demonstration project, which was then further engineered into a system configuration description (SCD) using IED configuration tools from multiple vendors and Helinks as a system configuration tool. These workflows were then developed by Tesco into a series of procedures / step-by-step task instructions and training videos, incorporating templating of SCL and proprietary configurations at the utility level, as well as the necessary templating customizations for project-specific requirements.

North America’s Largest IEC 61850 Factory Acceptance Testing

California (USA)

Tesco completed the end-to-end Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) for a large utility’s Transmission pilot project for their new substation automation system, which was one of the largest IEC 61850 projects in North America. The project included supplying and installing all the inter-rack cabling for ~50 relay racks, testing all inter-panel wiring, and testing all protection and automation schemes for ~120 IEDs before being installed at the substation. All the IEC 61850 and protection features for the IEDs were tested and recommendations were made to improve on the schemes. The project included testing a PRP network where GOOSE messages were used for critical protection schemes. Two separate IEC 61850 clients (advanced HMI and PLC / Programmable Automation Controller) were commissioned, including auto-restoration schemes. Tesco also created an extensive training manual for the new features of the substation.

Digital Substation System Integration Services & Test Plan Development


Tesco provided hands-on IEC 61850 training through the IEC 61850 University, and then provided IEC 61850 design and configuration for the utility’s first digital substation project, at a transmission voltage level of 220kV. Tesco’s scope of delivery included producing a details system specification (SSD) using Helinks STS, network architecture and time synchronization design, incorporating PRP, RSTP, and multiple redundant grandmaster clocks. This architecture included bandwidth calculations, network traffic control, analysis of failure modes and redundancy levels, and segregation between the two independent duplicated sets of protection. Tesco also produced detailed IED Unit, Interface and Scheme test plans.

IEC 61850 System Architecture (SA3) and Specification Development

California (USA)

This multi-faceted IEC 61850 consulting project was focused on assisting a large Californian utility in developing their state-of-the-art, IEC 61850 substation automation system referred to as SA-3.

  • Reviewed, commented, and assisted utility to finalize the SA-3 use case requirements
    • Assisted in developing a scalable IEC 61850 system architecture
    • Assisted in developing the IEC 61850 use case definitions and functional requirements
  • Assisted in developing an IEC 61850 Functional Design Specification that was used for RFI purposes.
  • Assisted in developing an IEC 61850 Technical Specifications that were used for RFP purposes, including technical requirements for:
    • HMI applications
    • Data Concentrator/Gateway
    • Configuration Management System (Enterprise)
  • Performed a gap analysis on the SA-3 Technical Specifications against IEC 61850 Ed.1 and Ed.2.

Digital Substations User Task Force

Facilitating exchange of information and experiences between end-users

Topics covered recently include:

  • PTP time synchronization conformance testing
  • End-user Digital Substation pilot project and real-world implementations
  • End-user experiences with Digital Substation labs
  • Top-down system specification and engineering process

Joining is free – visit the Digital Substations User Task Force website for more details.

Digital Substation Protection and Control Standards Development

California (USA)

Tesco worked with the Standards and Protection/Automation groups of a large utility to create a set of standard IEC 61850 datasets and reports for the utility’s operational standard relay templates. The work included creating a standard set of points for the GE and SEL relays that can be used universally across the IEDs and then implementing the points and settings into the standard relay files. As part of this effort, Tesco updated relay firmware to the latest version and created the standard SCL files.

Process Bus Demonstration and Product Evaluation

California (USA)

Tesco had the pleasure of working with a large, Californian utility on their IEC 61850 process bus demonstration and IED evaluation. Tesco was tasked with configuring and testing various vendor’s process bus IEDs – including test plan development – and document the results of these positive/negative interoperability tests. Tesco documented the test results and provided recommendations based upon the lessons learnt. An “IED scorecard” was developed to measure the maturity, flexibility, and usability of each vendor’s IEDs. Tesco developed the Process Bus Technical Requirements document, including high-level architectural descriptions, business requirements, technical specifications, and process bus technology commercial analysis. Investigated Non-conventional Instrument Transformer technology, and its state of maturity and applicability to the utility.

The specialty engineering services included but were not limited to the following:

  1. Identify Technical Requirements
  2. Identify Process Bus Technologies
  3. Process Bus Test Plan Development
  4. Process Bus Lab Testing

Digital Substation Handbook


Tesco is pleased to announce the completion of the CEATI Digital Substation Handbook Project. The Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI) is driven by 140+ participating organizations (electric & gas utilities, governmental agencies, provincial and state research bodies that engaged Tesco to author a “Digital Substation Handbook”. The Digital Substation handbook is compromised of six chapters, with each having their own webinar to share/present this content. Sponsoring CEATI members were provided with the “handbook” and the corresponding slides for each chapter:

  1. IEC 61850 System Architecture
  2. IEC 61850 Data Modelling
  3. IEC 61850 MMS Reports
  4. IEC 61850 GOOSE Messages
  5. IEC 61850 Sampled Values
  6. Precision Time Protocol

Tesco is pleased to have successfully executed on this project, and met the following objectives:

  • Understanding of the key principles and foundation of IEC 61850;
  • Recommendations on best-practices when deploying Digital Substations, such as signal naming conventions, report control block settings, composition of datasets, etc.
  • Documentation of key lessons learnt from past projects, which may incorporate lessons learn from CEATI’s member base;

IEC 61850 & Substation Automation Training and Consultancy

South-East Asia

Tesco provided IEC 61850 training and consulting services for a large South-East Asian generation, transmission and distribution utility. Our client had some IEC 61850 implementation experience, so we hosted targeted workshop sessions to bring the different teams up to speed with the present and future of digital substations standards. This included: comparisons of Sampled Value profiles IEC 61869 vs 9-2LE, time synchronization in digital substations, conformance testing of IEDs, review and development of substation ethernet network architectures, philosophies and practical aspects of testing in IEC 61850 substations, and a comprehensive review of our client’s existing training materials and specifications.

Design and Construction of IEC 61850 Training Lab

In this project, Tesco was tasked with designing, building, and testing a set of IEC 61850 training simulators that are used to accommodate this global client’s training and development curriculum.  A comprehensive set of slides and troubleshooting guidelines were also developed and are used in conjunction with training simulators. The IEC 61850 theory and trouble-shooting workshops were customized to the client’s schemes/naming nomenclatures, which was tailored to operational/maintenance personnel. The deliverable from this project included:

  1. Complete set of slides
  2. Modular Training Simulators, including pre-wired and tested IEDs
  3. IEC 61850 Trouble-Shooting Guidelines (Per IED Type)
  4. All IED Configurations, including 61850 and non-61850 configurations

Top-Down Specification and Engineering Process Development

There are many things to consider when transitioning to a top-down specification and engineering process, including defining/augmenting workflow processes, evaluating SCL tool capabilities, SCL template development, etc. Tesco was tasked to define an “ideal” top-down process, and then contrast this to what can “actually” be achieved using commercially available tools. This included defining the associated processes and completing an SST/SCT evaluation that included a score card that evaluated the maturity of each SCL tool.

IEC 61850 IED Configuration Guides & IEDScout Job Aides

Tesco was engaged to build on the success of our Configuration Guides which are used in the IEC 61850 University’s Mobile Digital Substation hands-on process bus training. The original format consists of settings and configurations summary, along with high-level steps following the “IEC 61850 integration workflow”, and some specific hints and tips to help the course participants navigate IED vendor tools they may not have previous experience with.

Tesco developed detailed training and reference manuals for each of the client’s four IED vendors, including the IEC 61850 integration workflow steps, references between the vendor proprietary terminology and IEC 61850 standard terminology, highlighting the representation of configurations in drawing or table form versus the actual vendor IED configuration tools (ICT) versus the actual configuration in the substation configuration language (SCL / XML).

In addition, Tesco produced detailed job aides covering the usage of Omicron IEDScout and other related troubleshooting tools in a live substation environment. These job aides were designed to introduce the capabilities of the tool and to gain experience with simulated scenarios in which these capabilities might be useful.

All of this was achieved using implementations of the client’s standard schemes, so the material covered by the materials is directly applicable to the client’s actual field installations.

IEC 61850 System Specification Template Development

Tesco completed the IEC 61850 system specification – and the associated templates – for this client’s typical substation arrangement. This project was focused on the specification aspects, including the use of a System Specification Tool (SST), which transformed the client’s requirements into a vendor-agnostic format in the form of a System Specification Description (SSD). This specification uses IEC 61850’s functional naming methods, and the SST templates will be used to instantiate/realize their projects in the future. This SCL based specification incorporated the clients’ naming conventions with all signals being mapped from their point lists, to the SCL based specification.

Based on these templates, future system specifications can be built quickly using bay and function templates. One important goal of this specification process is to minimize site-to-site variations and maximize consistency between different sites, even if those sites are implemented using different types of IEDs. This project also successfully demonstrated that a single specification template can be mapped to actual logical nodes, data objects and data attributes in the data models of IEDs from multiple different vendors.

DER Engineering and Planning Solution Architect

California (USA)

Tesco acted as Solution Architect for the third release of a large California utility’s project to upgrade their distribution system planning tools to accommodate time-series Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data.  In the software developed for this release, hourly demand profiles from the organization’s forecasting tools are allocated across a common as-built electrical connectivity model according to historical percentages, and then engineers run power system load flow calculations at the substation and feeder levels to determine when in the next ten years violations may occur.  The same toolset is used to produce the Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) report which calculates how much capacity is available for Distribute Energy Resources (DERs) at any location on any feeder. Tesco developed the high-level release architecture and solution architecture documents for this toolset and liaised with the project development team and software supplier throughout the design process to resolve design issues.

Battery Energy Storage Strategy


Tesco developed the use case sections of a Canadian utility’s draft strategy document regarding battery energy storage systems (BESS) and performed research on existing BESS projects in Canada and other countries for use in the document.  Tesco edited and provided feedback to business planners on the overall strategy specification, which included discussions on drivers and opportunities, the existing market, known use cases, system considerations, project and cost considerations, a tactical plan and a roadmap.  Tesco facilitated interdepartmental workshops reviewing the strategy document and captured the results of those workshops in the updated strategy document.

Utility DER Interconnection Specification


Tesco assisted the distribution planning department in developing the first revision of their DER interconnection specification that addresses the new IEEE Std 1547 and CSA requirements.  The document includes requirements to be placed on new DER suppliers including standards compliance, ratings, islanding and anti-islanding, protection, communications, control modes, synchronization, power quality, and ride-through.  It also includes detailed sections on testing including type, production, installation and commissioning tests. Tesco was the editor of the document and the primary writer capturing the requirements of the distribution planning department.  Tesco also facilitated meetings reviewing and updating the draft. Tesco was the ideal collaborator for this document because we provided industry expertise on IEEE Std 1574 and the DNP3 DER communications profile, which we had helped develop.

Grid Modernization Reference Architecture


Tesco assisted the utility’s enterprise architects as editor and contributor developing a reference architecture specification for all future grid modernization development at the utility.  The document was developed in coordination among security, architecture, and project management departments. It includes architectural principles, high-level requirements, components, interfaces, data architecture and information flows, and a set of architecturally-significant use cases derived from Tesco’s extensive experience with industry best practices and published use cases.  Tesco was ideal for this work based on our team’s participation in developing the NIST Smart Grid Framework and projects facilitating AMI use cases and RFPs at several utilities.

DER Communications for DNP3

Electrical Power Research Institute (USA)

Tesco served as editor and primary author of the DNP3 Application Note Profile for Communications with Distributed Energy Resources, AN2018-001.  This document maps the smart inverter functions and communications portions of the IEEE Std 1547 for DERs to the popular Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3) used in most North American utilities.  It includes descriptions of how to use DNP3 to enable DER functions such as generation limiting, Volt/VAR control, frequency control, disturbance ride-through, protection, battery energy storage, microgrids and many others.   Tesco is also contributing to the working groups that are developing this DER communications specification into an IEEE standard.

DNP3 Security

Electrical Power Research Institute (USA)

Tesco served as editor and contributing author of the next-generation secure authentication standard for the Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3).  DNP3-SA version 6 will use state-of-the-art security technologies such as Elliptic Curve algorithms to provide authentication, encryption, integrity checking and device enrollment for DNP3, which is used in over 90% of the power utilities in North America.  In addition to working with the DNP Technical Committee to make this standard part of IEEE Std 1815, Tesco coordinated the development with the corresponding International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) standards organization to align it with the next edition of the IEC 62351-5 standard.