Integrated Monitoring & Configuration: Exclusive Interview with Julio E. Dominguez of UFD - [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Interview]

Posted to Energy Central in the Digital Utility Group
image credit: Julio Dominguez
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Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

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  • Oct 11, 2019

As digital tools get integrated into the grid system, the need to monitor those tools in a secure, reliable, and efficient manner. These needs are an increasing focus in the world of utilities, and for those that are in the field the upcoming IEC 61850 Global 2019 Conference will be can’t miss.

Julio E. Dominguez will be speaking at this IEC 61850 conference next week in a presentation entitled “Integrated Monitoring & Configuration: Streamlining IED Management through the integration of real-time monitoring and configuration.” Before that, though, you can get some bits of wisdom from my interview with him below:

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Matt Chester: To start with some background information, can you please start by giving our readers the background of who you are, how you got involved in this field, and what exactly your role is these days?

Julio Dominguez: My name is Julio E. Dominguez, I have MScs in Physics and Information Systems. After working for more than a decade in corporate IT, 13 years ago I switched to the OT (operational technology) area. I am currently a member of an OT Design department in UFD Distribucion Electricidad, SA. I am happiest when my job allows me to blend the openness of IT with the sturdiness of traditional OT.


MC: What is it about asset management that is so important to the energy sector and why is it a topic of increased focus today?

JD: There is really nothing special about asset management, any business is but managing assets! I think the term today focuses on efficiency, because the energy sector has realized that it can no longer take economic growth for granted, as it did in the past, and society is much more conscious of the importance of a careful use of energy in the context of increasing environmental concerns.


MC: The ability to monitor and configure digitally and remotely obviously come with plenty of benefits, but they surely introduce new challenges and potential for issues. What are some of the most common new hurdles introduced from these integrated monitoring and configuration solutions?

JD: The main issues arise from the software, which allows you to do virtually anything, but at the same time offers numberless ways of doing it wrongly. If you want to tame the monster and put it at your service, you must apply proven methodology and avoid reinventing the wheel. Disregarding the lessons others learnt before you, from the mistakes they made, will only lead you to making the same mistakes.


MC: You’ve referred to IEC 61850 standards including 7-3, 7-4, and 6 as the ‘sleeping beauty’ of IEC 61850. Can you explain what you mean by this and how leaders in utilities should be thinking about them?

JD: Parts 6 and 7 of the standard provide a common information model for digital functions, based on object orientation. It is a necessary part of any good methodology. I see too many people building homemade information models as if there wasn’t one already available, which besides is in the public domain, and thus a gateway to universal interoperability.


MC: Not only will you be speaking at the IEC 61850 conference, but you’ll no doubt be attending with an intent to learn as well. What topics are you most keen to learn about while at the conference and why is this event a key place to learn about such topics?

JD: I definitely would like to know about ‘manufacturer-neutral’ software, i.e. software that manages IEDs (for purposes as varied as online inventory, testing, configuration, monitoring, etc.) but has not been developed by an IED manufacturer. I am also very interested in harmonization issues, i.e. how to address ambiguity whenever the IEC standards have different ways of modeling the same thing, which can be an awful source of trouble.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the insights Julio has in IEC 61850 implementation, be sure to check out his presentation at the IEC 61850 Global 2019 conference, taking place from October 14 to 18 in London. You can check out the agenda and register for the conference here.


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