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By | February 9, 2024February 13th, 2024

Energizing Connections: Recap of the Digital Substation Meetup in Paris

By Ben van ‘t ende

From January 23 to January 24, 2024, developers and company representatives convened in Paris for a two-day meetup hosted at the offices of RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Électricité) in the La Défense district. Organized by LF Energy, this event brought together a diverse group of professionals passionate about leveraging open source collaboration to shape the future of the energy sector, focused on substation automation.

The meetup served as a dynamic platform for participants to exchange insights, share best practices in LF Energy substation automation, and forge a way forward specifically for the CoMPAS and OpenSCD projects. From engaging discussions to hands-on workshops, the agenda was designed to foster collaboration and spark meaningful connections among attendees.

At the time of the meetup, OpenSCD was still in the process of officially joining LF Energy. As of January 26th, the project is now accepted as an LF Energy project.

Day 1: Engaging Introductions and Collaborative Sessions

The first day kicked off with a talk by Boris Dolley, head of RTE’s Open Source Program Office, presenting an illustrated narrative of RTE’s journey with open source.

CoMPAS and OpenSCD were at the core of this substation meetup. RTE’s Jean-Etienne LeMaire presented a breakdown of project goals, current status, and challenges. Alliander’s Davood Sooran did the same for OpenSCD. Fred Steinhauser for Omicron, Stefan Baumgartner for TransnetBW, Sander on behalf of TransPower, and Erwann Roussy for Savoir-faire Linux attended in relation to the LF Energy SEAPATH project.

After lunch (thank you RTE) a series of insightful introductions followed, delivered by the companies participating in the meetup, offering valuable perspectives on the challenges and opportunities their projects face and how they see the future. Attendees had the opportunity to gain more in-depth insights into the latest developments in substation automation.

Participating companies in the meetup were: RTE, Alliander, Omicron, SprintEins, Elia (online), TransnetBW and Cresym.

These sessions of the first day provided the starting point of the roadmap discussion and facilitated lively discussions on the future of both CoMPAS and OpenSCD.

Pascal Wilbrink closed off the day with a presentation on Code Quality. The main takeaways from his presentation were: developing code is more than just adding new functionality. It’s also about how you can maintain your code. Studies demonstrate that almost 40% of the time spent on coding is due to technical debt. How can we minimize this time so that we can be more effective in writing code?

Pascal will do a follow-up brainstorm session for the teams in the coming weeks.

Day 2: Collaborative Sessions and Establishing Goals

The second day of the meetup continued with concrete plans for the coming year (including high level non-functional requirements) professionally guided by Alliander delivery master Catalina Dumbraveanu.

All the participants reflected on what was shared during the first day, and what 2024 goals are being targeted by each company. Once the goals were clear, the group brainstormed over the work behind each item, at a high level. The purpose of this exercise was to check whether the goals overlap, whether there are dependencies between the goals, known risks, and if preparation work needs to be done before the actual implementation. Considering all these aspects, a roadmap was created, with the work targeted for each quarter.

The next steps were to identify and map the community contributors and their roles in the project. Having a look over the roadmap, the group discussed and aligned on how the work will be spread across contributors, to ensure a proper balance and a good collaboration inside the community.

RTE’s Aliou Diaite conducted an activity as a retrospective to get project member’s feedback on what are the weakness of our open source collaboration and trying to find ways to improve. Everyone gave their perspective about what slowed us down and what are future obstacles we could face and considering possible solutions.

Networking and Building Connections

Beyond the structured sessions, the meetup provided ample opportunities for networking and building connections. Attendees had the chance to connect with peers, forge new partnerships, and exchange ideas in an informal setting. The vibrant exchange of perspectives and experiences further enriched the collaborative spirit of the event.

Looking Ahead: Shaping the Future of Energy Together

As the meetup drew to a close, participants left inspired and empowered to continue driving positive change within their respective projects. The event showed the power of collaboration and collective action in advancing the goals of the substation projects under LF Energy.

Staying Connected

Reflecting on the success of the LF Energy meetup in Paris, we look forward to building on this momentum and continuing the conversation. Stay tuned for future events, initiatives, and opportunities to engage with LF Energy and be a part of shaping the future of energy together.

Currently, there are 4 substation projects under the LF Energy umbrella:
  • CoMPAS — Configuration Modules for Power industry Automation Systems — Profile management and configuration of Protection Automation and Control System (PACS)
  • SEAPATH — Software Enabled Automation Platform and Artifacts (THerein)  — Real-time platform that can run virtualized automation and protection applications
  • OpenSCD — Substation Configuration Designer — Platform to enable fully digital substations, from design and commissioning through to maintenance and replacement
  • FledgePOWER —  Multi-protocol translation gateway for power systems based on the industrial IoT LF Edge project Fledge.

LF Energy projects communicate on a Slack instance. Join us on