Is the U.S. being dumb and dumber about 61850?


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: A new report reveals that U.S. distribution utilities are falling behind their peers in Europe, Latin America and at transmission entities when it comes to adoption of the IEC 61850 substation standard.


Listen, I get it. It's easier to use DNP and other tried-and-true protocols. It's easier for your staff, who aren't yet up to speed with 61850. And who would have to support both 61850 and your legacy gear. It might even be easier for your CFO, since the initial cost for old-school gear is often lower.


But sometimes its smarter to take a long-term view. To invest in future-friendly technology that brings with it greater interoperability, greater choice and greater flexibility. Even if it costs a few dollars more and requires some retraining.  - By Jesse Berst


Installations of new distribution automation electronics in the U.S. and Canada will continue to depend on DNP 3.0 LAN, according to a new report from IMS Research. That despite the growing acceptance of substation communications standard IEC 61850 in Latin America and in global markets outside North America.


"The projections for all the Americas indicate increasing rapid adoption of IEC 61850 for distribution-level automation in the coming years, but a fair part of that shift will be driven by Latin America's new equipment installations, as opposed to retrofit of existing North American distribution networks," said IMS senior analyst Donald Henschel. "These new standards are coming, but supplier and utility experience indicates that DNP3 LANhas substantial ongoing opportunity for the next several years."