Digital substation initiative launched to modernize power grid infrastructure


LF Energy, a Linux Foundation nonprofit coalition seeking to improve grid infrastructure through open-source projects, recently launched its Digital Substation Automation Systems (DSAS) initiative to enhance the power grid’s modularity, interoperability and scalability to accelerate to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

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

Digital Substations

Transitioning from fossil-based fuels to clean energy sources can cause fluctuations in power supply, like renewable energy and electrical vehicles. Because of this, power grid operators now face greater challenges to ensure grid stability and optimization.

LF Energy’s DSAS initiative seeks to alleviate challenges by optimizing electrical substations through open-source technology. Substations form the 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.

Additionally, a more efficient power grid will increasingly integrate more solutions on the edge of the power grid, such as decentralized physical infrastructure assets, network or control, applications and analytics.


CoMPAS is the first of many 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 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.

One hurdle to achieving industry-wide modernization of electrical substations is the lack of interoperability between PAC components from different vendors. CoMPAS’s software components will be developed from IEC 61850, a complex but useful standard that provides the framework to integrate a substation’s PAC functions, regardless of the vendor or end-user.

CoMPAS seeks to provide the standardized open-source software building blocks for PAC components vendors to use to create interoperable digital substation solutions.

Dr. Shuli Goodman, Executive Director of LF Energy, said, “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.”

“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.

“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.

LF Energy will be holding a Technical Architecture Workshop on July 8th from 14:00 — 19:00 CEST (8 am – 1 pm ET). The free online event will be a unique opportunity for enterprise architects, digital technology specialists and developers who might be interested to explore the tactical ins-and-outs of being part of an open-source community, including managing its security, data architectures, and governance. This event is also for those who might be interested to learn how they can implement their skills in an open-source community to fight climate change” or something similar. See more here:

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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