TMCNet:  Toshiba's Proposal Reaches Major Milestone in IEC International Standardization for Smart Grids

[May 22, 2013]

Toshiba's Proposal Reaches Major Milestone in IEC International Standardization for Smart Grids

May 22, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- Toshiba Corporation (: 6502) today announced that the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has endorsed a committee draft for vote (CDV) of an International Standard, proposed by Toshiba, that will secure a much higher level of interoperability among subsystems in electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) systems. Adoption of the new standard by system integrators and utilities will bring a new level of simplicity and extensibility to the maintenance of T&D networks throughout the world.


Currently, the IEC's Common Information Model 1 (CIM: IEC61968/IEC61970) supports global interconnectivity of subsystems from different manufacturers in power grids. It defines major attributes for various types of equipment in a grid, such as device names, current types, maximum and minimum voltages, installation locations and topologies. However, the range of equipment described is limited and many important attributes are still missing. The coverage must be extended, and quickly, provision must be made for continually updating the information contained in the standard.

Toshiba's proposal compensates for the shortcomings of the CIM. Under CIM, a data file in conformity with the standard integrates information about all the components, hardware and software, of a power grid; but this exists in only one version, precluding individual updates of information on any given component. More profoundly, grid components are defined in Unified Modelling Language (UML), a graphical programming language, and all cross-references among components are made through English labels only. There is a need to extend this to allow people to use the database in their own languages.

In this situation, Toshiba proposed a new interface standard (IEC62656-3) that provides a bridge between CIM and the Common Data Dictionary (CDD: IEC61360-4DB), a database managing data-specifications for all electrotechnical products and services. The CDD has already been adopted as one of the " First Set of Consistent Standards " for Smart Grids, and its use is required in the EU under European Standardization Mandate M/490. The proposed interface realizes full version control for individual objects and facilitates easy extension by adopting a tabular database to which columns of an identifier and associated values in multiple languages can be easily added.

The Toshiba-based proposal has cleared the enquiry stage and is now at the approval stage, preparing to issue a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) for the final vote on editorial aspects.

Dr. Takashi Kamitake, chief fellow at Toshiba's R&D center who supervised the standardization said, "The standardization will bring great value to the development of the smart grid industry. It will allow us to promote the standardization of related technologies and to contribute to the creation of a global smart grid market." Looking to the future, Toshiba will seek to expand its T&D business by taking advantage of the technical capabilities cultivated in the standards development.

1. An IEC standard defining a taxonomy of products and services with their identifiers for describing a power grid.

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