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In this paper, the OPC UA is introduced as a key technology for realizing a variety of Smart Grid use cases enabling relevant tasks of automation and control. OPC UA is the successor of the established Classic OPC specification and state of the art regarding information exchange in the industrial automation branch. One of its key improvements over the Classic OPC is that the area of application is no longer restricted to industrial automation but OPC UA can be applied almost in every domain facing challenges in automated control. This improvement stems from a more generic and object-oriented approach. For the adoption of OPC UA to Smart Grids, two of the most important data models - the Common Information Model (CIM) and the IEC 61850 - have been identified to be integrated into OPC UA communication. In this contribution, basic OPC UA features and functionalities (information modeling, communication services, and information security) are introduced and discussed in the context of Smart Grids.