Common Industry Standards to Help Integrate Various Digital Devices in Substations
Palo Alto, CA 10/17/2005 03:14 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)
Palo Alto, Calif. — October 17, 2005 — The North American substation automation market implemented several standard communication protocols including distributed network protocol version 3 (DNP 3), utility communication architecture version 2 (UCA 2), and Modbus. However, these standards failed because not all intelligent electronic device (IED) vendors adopted them.
Common industry standards will now receive greater focus as utilities have begun to realize the benefits of integrating various digital devices in a substation. This will happen only with the adoption of standard protocols.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.power.frost.com), North American Substation Automation Markets, reveals that revenue in this market totaled $350.5 million in 2004 and projects to reach $576.2 million in 2011.
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Most devices deployed in the substation automation market are proprietary and communication between them is possible only through protocol converters. This extended process consumes a lot of effort and money during commissioning and reduces the efficiency of the equipment.
Utilities hope to co-ordinate the real-time information obtained from these devices to share the information across departments. To do this, they have to implement standard protocols that are reliable and optimize device functionality.
Greater acceptance of DNP as the standard protocol for remote terminal units (RTUs), IEDs, and master stations in North America will greatly aid integration of digital devices.
The substation market will also have to deal with the problem of seamlessly integrating non-operational data and getting it to the control room. Non-operational data includes transformer temperature, dissolved gas, as well as lightning and weather conditions.
The challenges associated with non-operational data are the characteristics of data, frequency of data transfer, and protocols used. “It is difficult to retrieve non-operational data from IEDs because utilities need the IED vendor’s proprietary commands for gaining access to certain ports to do this,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Balaji Raman
IED vendors can solve this by pushing for open standards so to cull non-operational data from other vendors.
With the mounting amount of data required for monitoring and controlling substations, there is an urgent need for highly reliable, secure, and robust communication networks. These network channels will ensure that communication disruptions do not take place within the substations and remote centers.
Higher bandwidth communication channels aid efficient data acquisition and send the information to the required center in real time. Efficient authentication and encryption techniques are required to make communication safe from attacks by external factors.
“Some of the latest communication technologies include Internet-based virtual private network (VPN) and satellite, wireless, and optical fiber communication,” notes Raman. “However, each of these alternatives has its own advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to depend on a single mode of communication.”
The cost of communication channels should also be considered to ensure its feasibility, even when under budget constraints.
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Keywords in this release: substation, automation, North America, protocol converters, intelligent electronic device, IED, distributed network protocol, DNP, remote terminal unit, RTU, virtual private network, VPN, optical fiber communication, distributed network protocol version 3, DNP 3, utility communication architecture version 2, UCA 2, Modbus, research, information, market, trends, technology, service, forecast, market share