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By | March 4, 2024

FOSDEM 2024 Recap – OpenSCD: Bridging the Gap in Substation Communication

In the dynamic landscape of energy management, ensuring seamless communication between intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) within electrical substations is paramount. At FOSDEM 2024’s Energy Devroom, Tamás Russ, a software engineer and lead of domain development at SprintEins, shed light on OpenSCD—a transformative tool designed to address this very challenge (video follows below).

OpenSCD, short for Open Substation Communication Designer, aims to improve the realm of substation communication. It serves as a progressive web app and platform, enabling engineers to streamline the exchange of data and commands among diverse IEDs.

Origins and Evolution
The genesis of OpenSCD traces back to a Java app crafted by Jakob Vogelsang at Omicron. Faced with the complexities of multivendor projects and interpretation discrepancies, Vogelsang envisioned a solution that would standardize communication protocols. Thus, the journey of OpenSCD commenced, evolving into a collaborative effort with contributions from esteemed organizations like Transpower and TransnetBW.

Scaling for Success
As OpenSCD enters a scaling phase, it confronts inherent challenges, chief among them being the necessity to offer comprehensive features universally. Russ emphasized the criticality of providing a holistic toolkit to prevent users from resorting to disparate tools, thereby ensuring interoperability across the board.

Technical Innovations
OpenSCD leverages a range of technical innovations to achieve its objectives. Embracing web standards, the platform ensures flexibility, performance, and long-term maintainability. Moreover, a robust plugin system empowers users to customize their experience, fostering adaptability to diverse use cases. By embracing technology independence through custom elements, OpenSCD accommodates a spectrum of technologies, enhancing accessibility and scalability.

Future Prospects
Looking ahead, OpenSCD envisions a future marked by expansive community involvement and interoperability across industries. Russ underscored the parallels between energy management and telecom, highlighting the need for concerted efforts to bridge existing gaps and foster sustainable growth.

In an era defined by digital transformation, OpenSCD emerges as a catalyst for connectivity within the energy sector. With its progressive approach and commitment to openness, the platform not only streamlines substation communication but also paves the way for collaborative innovation.