Embracing the smart grid with IEEE 1547 and zenon

Why do utilities need to start thinking about their next-generation Smart Grid equipment?

The energy industry is having to perform a transition, and replace conventional energy sources like coal or gas with renewable sources. Renewable resources like wind and solar power introduce unique challenges to those who must maintain the constant balance between energy supply and demand that is required for a stable electric power grid.


A newly released standard from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has utilities thinking about their next-generation Smart Grid equipment. The IEEE 1547 standard has been updated and enforced in 7 states as of 2021. Starting in 2022, more states in the US will be forced to comply with the updated IEEE 1547 standard.


The IEEE 1547 standard establishes criteria and requirements for interconnection of distributed energy resources (DER) with electric power systems (EPS) and associated interfaces. It provides requirements relevant to the interconnection and interoperability performance, operation, testing, safety, maintenance and security

Communication aspects of the IEEE 1547 standard

To monitor, configure and control DERs and harmonize communication interfaces among different protocol technologies, the IEEE 1547 standard references a number of industrial automation and web-communication protocol standards, each having a particular part or extension which describes the semantic models to support DERs. The list of communication options ranges from a local connection of DERs to local DER controllers or aggregators, i.e. realized with the SunSpec data model standard based on MODBUS (https://sunspec.org/specifications/). In addition, protocols for wide-area communication are comprised in the IEEE 1547 compliant options. For that, the well-known DNP3 protocol receives a dedicated data model specification with MESA-DER (http://mesastandards.org/mesa-der-2/).


The following table shows current protocol options which are currently harmonized in the scope of IEEE 1547, along with the respective DER-related standards.


IEEE 1547 data model through...
(DER-related parts/standards)

Technical Protocol

SunSpec DER (700 Series Information Models)



DNP3 (IEEE 1815)


IEC 61850 MMS

IEEE 2030.5 (SEP2)



The following diagram shows possible communication standards being utilized in a Smart Grid / DER network, from local DER level to central (utility) level.


Applying IEEE 1547 requirements to your distributed energy sources is essential for compliance, safety and performance. Finding a streamlined solution for meeting this standard can benefit a range of operations in the energy industry.

Does zenon comply with IEEE 1547 standard?

The zenon Software Platform offers a comprehensive set of HMI and automation functions, along with a unique set of communication protocols that make it ideal for renewable energy applications. Communication protocols as comprised in IEEE 1547 are fully covered and can all be utilized in one integrated environment. Among over 300 individual communication protocols in zenon are:

  • DNP3 Master and Outstation (Subset Level 4)
  • IEC 61850 MMS Client and Server
  • MODBUS Master and Slave, including SunSpec compliant data model templates
  • .NET Driver API for custom integration of RESTful web services, such as SEP2

zenon is a very scalable platform that can be utilized on all different levels of a Smart-Grid topology, on local DER level, on intermediate controller level or on control center level. 


Smart engineering features allow the creation and maintain application templates that can include specific data models as declared in the IEEE 1547 referenced standards for each of the listed protocols. As more states implement IEEE 1547, zenon will become a valuable resource for your Smart Grid.


Beyond zenon IEEE 1547 standard compliance, the software platform offers complete, ready-to-use application templates that make DER automation fast and simple.


Benefits at a glance:

  • High performance and scalable solution platform for DER projects
  • Comprehensive and secure communication platform, with full compatibility to IEEE 1547 related protocols
  • Efficient engineering with dedicated solution templates and application component libraries
  • Reliable control and monitoring on any level of the Smart Grid topology

Comply with the IEEE 1547 standard with zenon

COPA-DATA continuously develops zenon to meet industry requirements like IEEE 1547. 

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