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Smart Grid Forums announces SGF-IEC Week 2023 in Amsterdam

IEC standards have long been considered de facto for the European power grid sector. But the cost and complexity inherent in implementing them has inhibited full adoption, until now.

Smart Grid Forums, an independent conference organiser specialised in the European power grid sector has been facilitating meetings on various IEC standards for more than 10 years. Key standards include IEC 61850 for substations, IEC CIM for control centres, and IEC 62443 for OT cybersecurity. 

The objective of these meetings has been to support grid operators in assessing the business case for the standards, conducting pilot projects to test their technical feasibility, and educating the wider utility workforce, to mobile large-scale deployment in support of the energy transition.

“This year it has become clear that these standards are interdependent,” noted Mandana White, CEO of Smart Grid Forums. 

“Whilst utilities have been working with them in focused silos, the reality is that without their effective interworking, grid operations will not be able to run seamlessly and reliably.”

As a result, Smart Grid Forums is hosting a joint meeting bringing all three utility IEC standardisation communities together at one time in one venue. Each group will benefit from a dedicated case-study programme that deep dives into the latest lessons learnt from the implementation of each standard whilst also being able to access information and networking related to the other standards.

The week-long event begins with a choice of three Fundamentals Workshops, providing participants with the foundational knowledge they need in IEC 61850, IEC CIM, and IEC 62443. 

The main three-day conference opens with a series of high-level plenary sessions on the macro issues facing the standardisation community, and then breaks out into three technical tracks focused on utility case studies. 

The week wraps up with a communication briefing designed to help technical teams translate their engineering know-how into organisational priorities using language that will influence the board and secure long term investment.

Over 70+ speakers are set to be involved in the conference, including: 

  • Christoph Brunner, Convenor, TC57 WG10
  • Gabriel Faifman, Co-Convenor, TC65 WG10
  • Svein Olsen, Lead Member, TC57 WG13,14 & 16
  • Alex Apostolov, Editor-in-Chief, PacWorld
  • Jennifer MacKenzie, Lead Design Engineer, Scottish Power Energy
  • Anders Johnson, Power Systems Specialist, Vattenfall Networks
  • Barry Coatesworth, Cybersecurity Advisor, Scottish Power
  • Philip Westbroek, OT Security Officer, Enexis
  • Damien Ploix, Chief of Cybersecurity, Enedis
  • Mohammed Radi, Network Data Modelling Engineer, UK Power Networks
  • Rui Pena, Senior Consultant, E-REDES
  • Anna Elgersma, Data Architect, Alliander

The topics set to be discussed during the conference include: 

  • Global standardisation review – Evaluating the rate of IEC standardisation take-up globally and identifying market trends and lessons to be learnt for Europe.
  • Working group improvements  – Evaluating the benefits of working group participation and identifying how the IEC can better engage utility contribution in the interest of wider market development.
  • Workforce engagement – Establishing a training culture that rapidly advances IEC 61850 competence of engineering, operations, and maintenance teams to drive organisational change at pace.
  • Process bus – Leveraging IEC 61850 standardisation to drive the cost-efficiency and accessibility of process bus architectures for grid networks.
  • Virtualisation – Determining the roadmap from digital to virtual substations and prioritising the implementation steps to commit to in the next 2-3 years.
  • IEC 62443 for the grid – Determining how IEC 62443 can be leveraged in combination with ISO 27001 to drive end-to-end cybersecurity of the IT-OT integrated digital grid.
  • Implementation planning – Creating an IEC 62443 implementation roadmap with clear priorities for utilities, suppliers and system integrators on both a governance and technical level.
  • Patch management – Ensuring the effective application of IEC 62443 guided patch management regimes to maximise the lifecycle of OT infrastructure.
  • CIM for a centralised repository – Applying CIM to all grid systems to promote centralization and to build a coordinated set of data models.
  • Internal/External Data Exchange – Reviewing the latest developments with CGMES to support TSO-DSO data exchange and interoperability

For those wondering what these events are like, Smart Grid Forums have provided testimonials from previous events, including: 

  • “As usual high-quality presentations and relevant topics,” commented Anders Johnsson, Power system specialist, Vattenfall Eldistribution AB
  • “In my opinion this is the best industrial conference about smart grid and IEC 61850,” said Andrea Bonetti, Senior Specialist, Megger Sweden AB 
  • “This was a great opportunity to learn about the IEC 62443 concepts, controls and framework,” according to Anja Ivanovska, Info Sec Specialist, EVN
  • Bas Mulder, Technologist OT, TenneT, described it as “A refreshing insight and different angle on cyberthreats and possible measures for the OT domain.” 
  • “Great opportunity to meet, exchange, discuss and develop ideas concerning CIM,”  noted Ruben Haasjes, Data Consultant, Alliander.
  • “Bringing utilities from across the world together to digitally transform our energy systems,” concluded Jakub Sliva, Asset Data Specialist, Stedin.

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