Nov 2018
Electricity Transmission
IEC 61850 Cyber Resilient Electric Substation Technologies
Nov 2018
Nov 2020
National Grid Electricity Transmission
Linwei Chen
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Network Innovation Allowance
ET - Network improvements and system operability
Digital substation technologies have the potential to deliver great benefits to utilities and their customers. They can enable a more efficient, automated and less risky engineering process, simplified installation, commissioning and eventually replacement, requiring shorter outages and significantly fewer resources. To fully explore these benefits, National Grid has previously carried out two research projects which have delivered a standard Architecture for Substation Secondary Systems (AS3), including a configuration guideline for digital substation solutions based on the IEC61850 suite of standards.

Building on this work, the Virtual Site Acceptance Testing and Training (VSATT) project has developed an off-grid test facility implementing the AS3 architecture and configuration guidelines. The VSATT project demonstrated a good level of interoperability between suppliers and delivered a testing and commissioning strategy for digital substation solutions. Whilst this research work has significantly improved our readiness to deploy this technology and deliver the benefits, security and resilience issues have arisen that require further work. This project will investigate cyber vulnerabilities particularly for digital solutions, and it will develop defence/recovery methods to improve resilience.
The project aims to address the cyber security and secondary system resiliency issues in order to facilitate the application of AS3 digital substation architecture based designs on the transmission network. The main enabling factor is to implement station-wide functions with a mix of analogue and digital technologies as well as cyber security testing capability into the existing VSATT platform to achieve the following:

  • Test and demonstrate station-wide functions and commissioning, testing and maintenance strategies with mixed analogue and digital technologies and enable site roll out.
  • Test and demonstrate protection and control, cyber resilient technologies in the event of equipment failure or virus intrusion from any test set, laptop or memory stick for software update during commissioning, maintenance and live equipment testing. 
  • Reduce the overall technical and commercial risks associated with secondary systems and drive customer value as a result of:
  • fast response to cyber-attacks with suitable intrusion detection tools,
  • improved resiliency of digital P&C solutions