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LF Energy Launches Digital Substation Initiative to Modernize Power Grid Infrastructure

published: 2020-06-30 10:00

LF Energy, a Linux Foundation nonprofit coalition that seeks to radically improve power grid infrastructure through open-source projects, today launched its Digital Substation Automation Systems (DSAS) initiative to enhance the power grid's modularity, interoperability and scalability to accelerate the global effort toward carbon neutrality by 2050.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

LF Energy, in partnership with GE Renewable Energy, Schneider Electric, RTE, Alliander, and other leading organizations in the energy sector, also launched today the first project under DSAS: CoMPAS, or Configuration Modules for Power industry Automation Systems.

"As a global society, we are at a turning point in history," said Dr. Shuli Goodman, Executive Director of LF Energy. "We either continue down our current path, or we thoroughly examine the processes and infrastructure in place and make real, meaningful changes that address the climate crisis directly. Our power grid is notoriously one of the greatest challenges for ending the climate crisis. With our CoMPAS project and other future DSAS projects, LF Energy and our members are proud to lead the charge in making 100% decarbonization a reality as we transform power grid infrastructure."

Digital Substations

The transition from fossil-based fuels to clean energy sources has given rise to variable conditions that cause fluctuations in power supply and demand, like renewable energy and electrical vehicles. Because of this, power grid operators now face greater challenges ensuring the grid is stable and optimizes power supply and demand.

LF Energy's DSAS initiative seeks to alleviate these challenges by optimizing electrical substations through open-source technology. These substations form crossroads of the grids, connecting grid users and grid voltage levels. By deploying modern, open-source technology, digital substations can more efficiently adjust to changes in power supply and demand through expanded dynamic protection settings, better data management capabilities and increased adaptive automation functions.

Additionally, a more efficient power grid of the future will increasingly integrate more solutions on the edge of the power grid, such as decentralized physical infrastructure assets, network or control, applications and analytics. Transforming our power grid represents one of the great opportunities for mitigating the climate crisis.

"Digital Substations are growing up and this is the first time that so many leaders in the energy space have come together to create software to speed up this technology," said Philippe Brun, Solutions Product Manager at GE Renewable Energy. "Other industries have shown that collaborating with historical and new key stakeholders to develop open-source solutions for industry-wide problems only fuels faster innovation, interoperability, adoption and success. With the support of LF Energy, GE's Grid Automation is committed to collaborating on open-source projects like the DSAS initiative and CoMPAS to accelerate creating the electrical grid of the future."


CoMPAS is the first of many leveraged collaboration projects in LF Energy's DSAS initiative. This is the first time in the power industry that organizations have come together to build open-source solutions for energy systems from start to finish, as most open-source projects are formed using existing technology. CoMPAS specifically seeks to build standardized and broadly applicable software components that optimize protection, automation and control (PAC) systems, as deploying modern PAC technologies is a pivotal first step to update substations.

"The multi-vendor and multi-end-user collaboration under the LF Energy umbrella allowed us to swiftly design a strategic roadmap for the CoMPAS project," said Lucian Balea, R&D Program Director and Open Source Program Officer at RTE, the electricity TSO of France. "We are excited to start developing open-source code in collaboration with the CoMPAS community to deliver high-quality software that accelerates the modernization of our grid infrastructure."

One hurdle to achieving industry-wide modernization of electrical substations is the lack of interoperability between PAC components from different vendors. To ensure standardization and encourage broad adoption, CoMPAS's software components will be developed according to IEC 61850, an open, international standard that provides the framework to integrate a substation's PAC functions, regardless of the vendor or end-user. IEC 61850 can be complex to comply with, which may discourage independent companies from developing technology that abides by it. CoMPAS seeks to provide the standardized open-source software building blocks for PAC components vendors to use to create interoperable digital substation solutions.

"IEC 61850 is widely used across the globe, but the new challenges to implementing this standard now include user specifications and a lack of interoperability and reusability between engineering tools," said Camille Bloch, IEC 61850 System Interface Expert at Schneider Electric. "We are excited to work with LF Energy and its other members to establish open-source, vendor-independent software components that companies can implement for safer, more reliable and innovative PACs and to modernize their electrical substations."

Tune into LF Energy's free Technical Architecture Workshop on July 8, 2020 to learn about CoMPAS and other LF Energy projects. Find more information and register here: https://events.linuxfoundation.org/lf-energy-tech-architecture-workshop/

About LF Energy

A first-of-its-kind initiative, LF Energy provides a 21st century plan of action to solve climate change through open frameworks, reference architectures and a support ecosystem of complementary projects. Find further information here: https://www.lfenergy.org.


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