Mar 2015
Electricity Transmission
Digital Substation – Virtual Site Acceptance Testing & Training
Mar 2015
Nov 2017
National Grid Electricity Transmission
Iliana Portugues
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Network Innovation Allowance
Initial analysis from the NG AS3 project - Working Group 2 (WG2) – “IEC61850/digital substation architecture design and reliability analysis” has demonstrated the feasibility of the concept; the next phase will aim to prove its applicability on the electricity transmission system.

The project aims to develop and demonstrate the first phase of the Digital Substation. The scope of this project can be divided into the following parts.

  • Carry out modelling and simulations for any design of substation to create a virtual site substation simulation environment. The VSATT will use RTDS equipment. This will provide the simulation for the primary plant for any operational and fault conditions.

  • Implementation of a configurable and extensible AS3 architecture test platform to provide the standardised secondary system interfaces to the primary plant.

  • Support and facilitate vendor IED interoperability and performance testing. This study aims to investigate whether solutions from different suppliers will work correctly, safely and reliably when configured to a common specification. It also aims to provide an indication of the viability and implementation costs for future digital substation implementation. This includes the development of specifications for data models, the engineering process, commissioning and testing.

The project aims to address the lifecycle issue described above by enabling the application of AS3 based designs on the transmission network. The main enabling factor is to develop a Virtual Site Acceptance Testing & Training (VSATT) facility to achieve the following:

  • Test and demonstrate interoperability between suppliers’ Standard Bay Solutions.
  • Finalise and validate technical specifications, processes and procedures that are vital to achieve interoperability and enable site roll out.
  • Reduce  the overall technical and commercial risks associated with secondary systems and drive customer value as a result of:
    • improved supplier choice resulting from interoperable equipment
    • lower installation cost as a result of reduced site wiring requirements and plug and play replacement.
    • Lower engineering cost as a result of automating key parts of the engineering and configuration process.
    • Reduced system access requirements.


A successful demonstration of this project will provide the following key deliverables:

  • To assemble an engineering facility (VSATT) for partner vendors to carry out virtual site acceptance tests on an AS3 based digital substation design.

  • To assess feasibility of vendor interoperability on a station bus using IEC61850-8-1 and MMS control data exchange between bays supplied by different suppliers and between bays and master unit.

  • To demonstrate IEC61850 technologies and the benefits of AS3 based digital substation implementations and performance to stakeholders.

  • To determine the feasibility of IEEE1588 time synchronisation for key substation functions.

  • To produce a suite of technical specifications and documented processes enabling safe site installation of interoperable AS3 based solutions.