Table of Contents
•An electricity grid is one of the most complex networks comprising a number of systems, components, and substations. It is a key element in any country’s critical infrastructure.
•Substations consist of large hardware including switchgears and transformers. In addition to these, there is an equally critical component, the automation system, which is deployed to monitor and control the grid in real time.
•These automation systems are mandatory in the current scenario to ensure availability, efficiency, reliability, and safety (which are some of the key performance indicators).
•Typical market drivers include regulation and mandates to improve the stability and security of the grid, and integration of renewables. In the United States, almost 25 states have implemented reliability targets, of which 20 states have introduced some form of penalty for not meeting the targets set by regulators.
•Some of the challenges facing the substation automation and integration market growth are the high investment cost and lack of common standards across geographies.
•Utilities are increasingly inclined to deploy automation solutions in their substations, but the degree of automation and the drivers behind the automation implementation vary for different geographical regions.
Companies are trying to gain a stronger foothold in the market through joint ventures (JVs) and partnerships.
End-users such as businesses and homes will generate power from distributed energy sources, enabling them to sell the surplus to the grid. Technologically advanced systems are likely to address the growing future demand.
Security and communication standards are likely to be implemented across the globe. IEC 61850 will gain acceptance by the utilities during the forecast period.
Increase in reliability, efficiency, and asset performance through advanced solutions are the key competitive factors in the market.
Substation automation is defined as the deployment of devices within a substation to monitor and control the devices from a remote control center. These automation devices are deployed to minimize the space required and maximize operational efficiency.
Substation integration is about gathering data from different intelligent electronics devices (IEDs) to a single point by utilizing both hardware and software for effective controlling of the equipment deployed within the substation. This includes communication protocols and other relevant standards that enable a secure connection with all the nodes.
Substation automation equipment can be split into two categories:
Hardware equipment include remote terminal units (RTUs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), protection relays, gateways (digital fault recorders and sequence of event recorders), bay control units (BCUs), and monitoring and diagnostic sensors.
Software and communication technologies include protocol converters, data concentrators, fault file management, firewall and security, software, and local area network (LAN).
Overall Substation Architecture
According to IEC 61850 standards, modern substations are segmented into three levels:
Process Level: This consists of primary equipment including transformers, circuit breakers, PLCs, and sensors for monitoring the condition of the equipment and data concentrators.
Bay Level: This level primarily performs the protection and control function. Typically, the bay level consists of secondary equipment including relays, RTUs, fault recorders, and BCUs.
Station Level: This level consists of the human machine interface (HMI), master station control center, backup station computer, Ethernet switches, and GPS receivers.
As a number of Ethernet switches and routers are deployed in a substation, cyber security is one of the major concerns for utilities. To address this, hardened routers, firewall and security software, selected access to substation operators, and other protection methods are used. Further, software are used to analyze the data extracted from multiple units including digital fault recorders, protection relays, and other sensors.
Substations are an integral part of the transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure used to either increase or decrease the voltage. Based on the application, the substations are predominantly classified into two types:
•Distribution Substation Transmission substations are substations with voltage levels including 69kV, 138kV, 230kV, 345kV, 500kV, and above. Distribution substations are used to transform voltages to distribution levels including 33kV, 22kV, 11kV, and 400V. In this study, the transmission substations considered are typically greater than 66kV while the distribution substations considered are 36kV and below.
Digital Protective Relay
A relay contains a micro-controller with software-based algorithms to protect the devices from electric faults. It is designed to protect the devices by sending signals to switching devices such as circuit breakers.
RTU : RTU is a microprocessor controlled device which interfaces between field equipment and the central monitoring/control system.
PLC : PLC is typically used for the automation of electro-mechanical processes in a substation.
Digital Fault Recorder (DFR) : A digital fault recorder (DFR) is used to record and analyze power system disturbances in the substation.
Sequence of Events Recorder (SoER) : An SoER is an intelligent system used in the substation to monitor external inputs and record the time and sequence of changes.
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