IEC 61850

All network activities in the areas of electricity, natural gas, district heating, water, fibre optics and road lighting are bundled at public utilities Heidelberg.
Their task field comprises the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of networks, trade with transit rights, measurement systems as well as the network-relevant services in various segments.


The networks of the public utilities Heidelberg supply customers and the region reliably with electricity, gas and heat and operate several 110/ 20 kV substations for the distribution of energy.

As part of a system modernisation, station control systems of the type net-line BCU-50 and net-line FW-5 from SAE IT-systems were commissioned in substation West, these working under real network conditions since then. In so doing, they not only perform demanding communication tasks but also fulfil the current IT security standards corresponding to the BDEW Whitepaper.

The networks of public utilities Heidelberg have described their general and functional requirements as follows:

  • Modular and individually extendible station concept
  • High system availability
  • Easy connection of manufacturer-independent protective equipment, transformer or e-col controllers via IEC 61850 Edition 2 (GOOSE)
  • Connection of the supervisory control centre via IEC 60870-5-104
  • Secure operation of commands in power grid by 1/N monitoring
  • High IT security standard according to BDEW Whitepaper
  • Latest encryption algorithms
  • Monitoring with SNMPv3
  • Simple and convenient configuration

The Heidelberg utility wanted a telecontrol solution in its 110-kV switching station for switching 20 digital protective equipment devices and 14 USM fault sensors made by EES via the IEC 61850 protocol. This challenge has been implemented successfully with the reliable station control system net-line FW-5-GATE of the new series5e. This is based in a new CPU generation with much more memory and processor performance, which has a positive effect on the IEC 61850 network communication. Two independent Ethernet-LAN 10/100BaseTx interfaces serve to log the data of the 34 IED systems by means of IEC 61850 and send this to the control system via the second LAN interface using the standardised IEC 60870-5-104 protocol. The FW-5-GATE also monitors the switchgear cabinet in which it is installed. The CMC monitoring system made by Rittal supplies data such as room and cabinet temperature as well as door monitoring for this, which is queried as SNMP messages and transmitted to the control system. The 20-kV single-point information, on the other hand, not only has the task of coupling secondary technical devices but also receiving a large number of data points directly (221 single-point information, 178 double-point information, 58 measured values, 74 double commands 2-pole).
For this, five BCU-50 racks in 19“ 4HE have been set up as a cascade and connected to each other via an internal LAN. As a result, a total of 70 slots were available, which could be used by I/A modules for conventional connection of process messages, commands, measured values, command termination etc. This cascade is only managed with a common station address, in other words it is treated like a single station.
It soon became clear than the key aspect lies in the project configuration of the station control systems. In particular, the integration of external components such as power quality monitors, protective equipment, transformer controllers, e-coils etc. via the IEC 61850 interface is often associated with considerable expense at other providers. With setIT, the Heidelberg utilities use a Windows-based, user-friendly configuration and diagnostics tool, which “is the best you have encountered in recent years”, declares Mr Weniger of the public utilities Heidelberg. setIT allows intuitive and extremely quick commissioning. Syntax commands prevent errors during the input and even complex functions are conveniently integrated and can be set up with a few clicks of a mouse. Other advantages are the extensive setup aids and diagnostic functions.

It should be emphasised that Mr Simon Morr – a highly motivated and extremely committed young employee of the public utilities Heidelberg – has become familiar with the configuration tool setIT with tremendous success independently and without any training, just one year after graduating. Only in 2018 were he and some of his colleagues for training in Cologne to discover some of the latest trends and features.

“Only a few days passed from commissioning to hardware delivery. But not only the timely implementation and rapid project development were promising but also the pleasant collaboration with SAE System Integration.”
Mr WenigerPublic, utilities Heidelberg