Modern power systems contain millions of elements, cover huge territories and require very large capital investments for the development and maintenance. Many random processes and factors influence the operation of power system. A functional control system is required to provide its effective and safe operation. In most of the cases the automatic equipment and devices have a control function. A human being is not able to analyse information and make correspondent decisions quickly enough and is not able to react fast enough to changes in power systems in case of complex damages. New equipment for the generation of energy has been developed and control systems are constantly developing which always requires qualified staff and effective and advanced science. In turn, the staff and science require research laboratories (RL) that can be divided into two RL types: real laboratories – for making experiments using real devices or their physical models, virtual labs – for the imitation of processes using digital models of devices. Certainly, a combination of the above mentioned laboratories can exist. The virtual laboratories are applied in many scientific areas and are quickly developing with the modern information technologies. The application of virtual laboratories in the area of power engineering science is much older than of personal computers as it started in the middle of the 20th century with the unification of power systems, when the very first electro-mechanic calculating machines existed. The practical interest to these laboratories can be explained as follows: the influence of power systems on the economy indicators that contributed to expensive calculating equipment, the essence of the problem regarding the extension and complexity of the power system that finally excludes any opportunity to develop its physical models. A laboratory for investigation of power systems nowadays is an integrated tool for the work of transmission and distribution operators as well as for the training of young specialists. It is doubtless that the virtual laboratories serve for the training of the dispatcher operators. The opportunities of virtual laboratories are limited in the case of investigation of the behaviour of a real automatic device as the experiments can be realised with the models only. To exclude this disadvantage the application of virtual-real laboratories (VRL) started in the 20th century. It was the result of the development of microprocessors. The complex testing relay protection devices OMICTRONS, Freja, ISA DRTS can be considered as the basic equipment of VRL. These relay protection devices are suitable for the testing of manufacturing equipment but are strictly limited in application for research when it is required to generate complex testing signals. The thesis foresees further VRL development and laboratory organisation, and examines the possibilities of making the experiments with real automatic devices. The subject of the thesis is electromechanical transient processes of power systems and the automation suitable for their control (out-of-step protection and recognition of island regime). The existence of such laboratory is important for the improvement of effectiveness of scientific investigations, as well as for the improvement of the education process at the universities.