Before the emergence of the IEC 61850 solution, the electrical industry was largely dominated by diverse, proprietary and non-standardized communication and control systems. These systems involved a huge amount of wiring and required countless hours for the production of drawings. Indeed, a small substation might have around five panels containing a minimum of 300 wires.
These systems were often incompatible with each other, making the management of electrical networks complex and costly. Electrical substations used different communication protocols, specific materials and proprietary software, which greatly limited the flexibility, efficiency and interoperability of electrical systems.
To meet these challenges, a more uniform approach was needed. The IEC 61850 solution provides a standardized communication and control framework for substation systems. This international standard is designed to promote the interoperability, flexibility and sustainability of electrical networks, while enabling more efficient management of energy resources and a reduction in the quantity of equipment required, including cables and wires. The IEC 61850 solution has become essential for modernizing the electrical industry and preparing it to meet the challenges of the 21st century in electrical power distribution and management.
Despite the many advantages of transitioning from conventional to digital substations, many companies are reluctant to make the switch. We often hear: “If it still works, why change it?”
Some fear that the initial cost of the transition is not worth it. It is true that the transition requires upgrading the current system, but this allows remote connection to relays and is actually less costly in the long term and can even generate savings for the client right from the transition.
Another common concern is the time invested in managing change. The IEC 61850 solution requires learning new applications, and people working in the field are often reluctant to invest the necessary time to do so. However, the transition to this new technology brings several advantages, including remote control of equipment. Digital solutions optimize the processes and systems the company already uses. In a world where information is essential, rapid access to data is crucial. This is precisely what digital tools offer: data collection, instant storage and simplified consultation. This allows savings to be made while protecting the environment, since paper is an expensive material that degrades over time and is not environmentally friendly.
Last but not least, the transition to the IEC 61850 solution is giving rise to cybersecurity concerns. Clients fear that this digital shift will open the door to new vulnerabilities and expose their infrastructure assets to cyber-attackers. These issues are manageable, however, if good cybersecurity practices are considered in the context of transition projects.
We support you in this transition
At CIMA+, we understand that the transition to a solution as revolutionary as IEC 61850 can be daunting. We understand the worries associated with a complete system change, and the challenges involved in managing this transition. That is why we are with you throughout this critical process.
As a first step, our experts present the IEC 61850 solution to all the members of your team who will be affected by this major transition. We know that it is easier to accept change when you understand its relevance and benefits.
We then carry out a thorough assessment of your current needs and resources. This is an important step, as it enables us to determine the level of support required to ensure a seamless implementation of the IEC 61850 solution. Our aim is to ensure a smooth transition, while maximizing the benefits of this major technological advance.
Following this analysis of needs and resources, our cybersecurity experts specialized in the energy sector will implement robust and proven security measures to ensure that the transition goes smoothly and that your operations are kept safe from cyber-attackers.
Benefits for our clients
At CIMA+, we believe that every transition is a step towards the future, and we are committed to making this evolution a positive reality for our clients. For example, in the area of renewable energy, we helped one of our clients design a customized solution to meet their specific needs, and conducted an information session on the key changes their staff would be facing. We then gave them hands-on training using our portable laboratory, so that they could carry out tangible tests with the same equipment that would be installed in their substation. This step proved crucial in demonstrating that the change is positive and has great added value for all stakeholders.