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Evolution of existing power systems towards the Smart Grids has highlighted a great number of potential pitfalls and unsolved issues which are postponing its streamlined progress. Collective control of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) through the model of Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is one of the key Smart Grid concepts lacking the capability of seamless integration. The IEC 61850 standard defines future-proof automation architecture with core relevance to the Smart Grid. One of the main IEC 61850 contributions are semantic data models describing variety of utility subsystems including DERs. The possibility of using DERs semantics with state-of-the-art industrial automation technologies, such as OPC UA (Unified Architecture), could significantly reduce VPP integration time frame. This article demonstrates how IEC 61850 can benefit from OPC UA technology and accelerate the Smart Grid development. OPC UA is based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It is shown how SOA paradigm provides a value-added feature for controlling VPPs. As a result of analyzing integration methodology between IEC 61850 and OPC UA and by presenting DER servers as SOA-ready devices, VPP automation architecture is proposed.
Date of Conference: 17-20 Oct. 2011