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Digital power
Material posted : Administrator Publication date: 19-11-2017

We used to talk about digitization as applied to communication systems, but with the development of information technologies be included in this process and many other industries. The first industrial revolution occurred when, in the late eighteenth century, manual labor began to be widely replaced by machines. The second revolution occurred at the beginning of the XX century, when Henry Ford invented the Assembly line. Currently the world is experiencing a third revolution, associated with the digitalization, and all production will eventually be controlled by computer programs, which can be placed somewhere in the "cloud". Although late, this process has reached to the electricity sector. Once it was bound to happen... this is today and offer to talk.

Current problems of electric power is well known and somewhat close to the problems which in his time had to face in the ICT industry. These include the moral and physical aging of the entire fleet of operating equipment (more than 50 % of the assets of the grids of the unified national energy network have excess life — more than 25 years, and the deterioration of Russian electric power systems according to various sources ranges from 50 to 70 %), the predominance of imports of control systems and automation of the previous generation (80 % of investment goes to the development of foreign technologies and the supply of legacy products) and a reduction in national investment programs.

The energy industry modernization on the basis of intelligent systems to improve efficiency and reduce capital and operating costs. Besides transformers, power lines and buildings will not save much — the laws of physics transmitted power require appropriate hardware. Since the experiments N. Tesla a century ago, wireless transfer of electricity through the tower Wondercliff was never completed (although interest in them recently reappeared), so spectacular in the field of communication "besprovodka" electricity providers have not yet obtained.

A little on electricity

The electricity network in something like a network connection — they have the transmission and distribution areas with various working voltages and with the structure "star" or "ring". As the network nodes are the substations, which converts the voltage of the transmitted electricity. The most important feature of any power system is that electricity production, its distribution and transformation in other forms of energy are carried out in one and the same time. In other words, the electricity almost never accumulates (creating a network of energy storage devices are in development), and the whole system operates in the mode on-line. All system elements are mutually related and interact, and the energy produced in the system is always equal to the energy it consumed. Here you can see that in contrast to the ICT industry, which has gone a long way to unlike postal communication to be able to have all of the information transmitted in the on-line mode, the electric power industry originally worked in this mode, and the dreams of its specialists seek to teach your network to work in off-line mode.

Another feature closely associated with the giant combination of diverse consumers in a single network, which dramatically increases the importance of ensuring the reliability of the power system and requires the creation of the energy systems of sufficient reserve capacity in all its elements.

The relative speed of the flow transients associated with short circuits, inclusions and shutdowns, swings, disorders of sustainability, requires the mandatory application of special automatic devices. Such devices, often very fast, needs to ensure proper adjustment of the transients in the system. Proper selection and adjustment of all these automatic devices, which include devices to protect against overvoltage, the installation of protection relays, automatic controllers, circuit breakers of it. p., is unthinkable without taking into account the operation of the entire system as a whole. All this contributes to the wide introduction of automation in energy systems and the complete automation of individual power stations and substations. And this automation (in addition to the communication systems, of course) depends today the welfare of every developed country.



The above problems are solved by the creation of automated control system of technological process (ACS TP). In the framework gathers primary information on all parameters of the technological processes to solve problems of metrological assurance, procedure performed direct regulation and remote control of equipment. This system is a source of information for the upper levels of the management structure (control room, control center) and largely determines the management efficiency of the entire energy system.

Overall APCS of the substation integrates subsystem relanzamiento automation (RDA), the anti-emergency automation (PA) automated information and measuring system of commercial electricity metering (AMR), the Registrar of emergency events (RACES), a system of monitoring and diagnostics of power equipment, a system of determining the place of damage (WMD) of the cable system for the collection and transfer of operational and non-operational information technology, control systems, power quality, engineering and auxiliary systems etc.

Interestingly, the technology still widely used for monitoring and management in power sector were at the level of the development of telecommunications 30-ies of the last century: the analog channels with copper wires from each of a plurality of sensors to an army relay and indicators. In addition, all material and energy intensive, which reduces the reliability, costly and inflexible in the design, ineffective scaling and modernization and, in addition, requires a lot of personnel in operation. It remains to add that the power industry based on outdated principles of monitoring and management, itself can pose a threat to the state.


Digital ideas

In General, in contrast to ICT in the power industry digitization process is in its initial stage. Despite the fact that the trend of transition to digital technologies in the systems of collection and processing of information, control and substation automation, there has been more than 15 years ago, the world's first digital substation was launched only in 2006, However, today almost all the leading companies-manufacturers of the electric power industry are actively working in this direction, given the positive experience of the ICT industry. Moreover, telecommunications are the basis of systems of monitoring and control in any other sector of the economy. Besides digitalization, the final victory in the early twenty-first century ICT, raised to a new height not only Telecom industry, but all industries who have managed to take advantage of it.

Innovative development of electric power industry today characterized by combining the electric grid and information infrastructure in the network nodes — digital substations. Digital substation (CPF) — an element of active-adaptive (intelligent) grid control system, protection and control based on the transmission of information in digital format. The CPS technology can reduce the cost of construction of substations, to reduce their size, increase reliability and, ultimately, to improve the quality of supply to consumers without increasing the cost. This, in turn, provides increased noise immunity, reducing the number of equipment circuits wiring and saving space. TSPS can be faster to build and easier to develop model projects for replication. Currently, the planet hundreds of TSPS that are installed in China, USA, Canada and other countries.


With the advent of the first microprocessor-based relay protection devices information from them, began to integrate and control system. Gradually the number of devices with digital interfaces increased (emergency automation, monitoring system power equipment, monitoring systems, shield DC, and their own needs, etc.). All of this information from devices of the bottom level was integrated to the DCS via digital interfaces. However, despite the widespread use of digital technologies for building automation systems, such substations are not fully digital, since all the source information, including the status of block contacts, voltages and currents, are transmitted as analog signals from the switchgear in the operational control room, where it is digitized separately by each device of the lower level (all of this even increases the cost of the substation, as it requires the installation of a large number ADC). For example, the same voltage is supplied in parallel to all devices of the lower level, which converts it into digital form and transmitted to the APCS. In traditional substations, different subsystems use different communication standards (protocols) and information model. For functions of protection, measurement, accounting, quality control, performs individual measurement systems and information interaction, which significantly increases the implementation complexity of the automation system on substation and the cost. But when you consider that, historically, information from the whole automation was a separate copper cables, and these substations were built many thousands, you can imagine the size of, pardon the expression, "analog hardware".

The transition to a qualitatively new systems of automation and control was possible with the emergence of new standards and technologies TSPS, which, above all, is specially designed standard IEC 61850. Unlike the others, he reglamentary not only the transfer of information between the individual devices, but also the formalization of the descriptions of the schemes, substation, protection, automation and measurements, configuration of the devices. In the standard provides the possibility of using the new digital measurement devices (including optical digital output) instead of the traditional analog gauges (current transformers and voltage). For example, digital measuring transformers transmit instantaneous values of voltage and currents according to the Protocol IEC 61850-9-2 device level connection. In the end it let you go to the automated design of the DSP-driven digital integrated systems, and there are analogies with control of the ICT industry.

All information links on the DSP are digital and constitute a single process bus. This opens up the possibilities of quick and direct exchange of information between devices, which ultimately eliminates the mass of copper cable connections, individual devices, and to achieve a more compact layout. So, the main feature of CPS is that all of its secondary circuit is a digital data transfer channels forming a single information network (data network).

Thus, the basis of the DSP is a unified telecommunication infrastructure based on modern technologies. The basic idea inherent in the ideology of CPS is to monitor all the processes as close as possible to sources of information, to transfer the data to all subsystems by means of fiber-optic communication lines and to virtualize most of the functions performed in the substation. Thus, all measuring devices are sources of information, and all the built-in intelligent electronic devices — consumers.


In turn, automation devices becoming just computers with specialized software, and system protection and control CPS in the set of logical software modules with different functionality and a new level of protection. The result is virtualized TSPS is hosted on a server and going from software modules relay protection and automatic equipment, RACES, AMR, etc. as a great sandwich or like a Russian doll. The design process is also taking place in the area of computer programs. The General result of all this activity is the replacement of analog systems ethnofunctional a single server with dedicated software, including specialized software modules. With the aim of improving the reliability of the server is made in a secure execution and duplicated for standby. Thus, it is believed that GCHQ allows to improve the security of electric power facilities, to obtain a significant reduction of metal consumption, reduce the number of elements in the systems of control and monitoring while improving their efficiency, improve reliability and observability, as well as to minimize the cost of engineering and commissioning.

What's next? Next will be a logical transition from the market of hardware platforms to market and cloud solutions. However, they must have adequate protection from "the fool" and "not the fool", as possible consequences of the absence of such protection for the unified energy system of the country it is easy to imagine. That is, the introduction of TSPS may present some kind of threat to the state, but what is the age, so are the threats. You can, for example, to connect all management system power grid of the country to the Internet, and then heroically to struggle with threats. Here, for example, the military around the world have long realized that to connect everything to the Internet not necessarily. But in 2014, the conference on information security, held at the International telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva had a chance to hear the representative of one African country boasted system of management of national energy, supplied by an American supplier, which can be operated from anywhere in the world. Mentally many conference participants wished him success.

At the present time all over the world have already completed many projects related to the application of the IEC 61850 standard, which showed the advantages of this technology. However, several issues still requires further development. This refers to the reliability of digital systems to configure devices on the level of the substation and interconnection to the creation of public tools design focused on different manufacturers.


To compare "past" and new technologies can result in approximate computations for the equipment of the "traditional" power substations and similar task TSPS. In the first case will require 150 km of copper cable, 100 cabinets, automatic control, 900 m2, and the total cost for equipment and installation of approximately 400 million RUB. the Second option requires 15 km of fiber-optic cable, three Cabinet protection and management (double back-up of the server), 150 m2, and the total cost is about 160 million. Well, if you consider that with remote monitoring and all the rest of the DSP can be controlled by one operator using a tablet PC, it is easy to imagine and benefit-sharing for capital and operational investment. On one color scrap metal can earn good money.

Lower operating costs work and due to the transfer of objects in the category of "maintenance free", as well as their unification and standardization. Besides, there will be the ability of the system to quickly adapt to changing conditions, to improve the reliability and security due to the transparency of used algorithms. No less easy to imagine and the cloud, which is managed by a group of TSPS, and the whole energy system. That is, there is indeed a huge scope for developers and suppliers, what we observe overall, is not any news for professionals in the ICT industry.

A little bit about the problems

Of course, there are problems. First of all, are not yet approved standards, which should be designed and which should be met by CPS, there is no corresponding metrological support, which still laid the "traditional" analog measurements, there is no appropriately trained staff. Not even a settled definition of TSPS.

But how will concern, for example, experts in the field of relay protection and automation equipment of the user which is truly "written in blood", to the fact that the substation will have access to "some pros"? – Suppose, say, they will understand, at least in information security in other places on the planet. It is obvious that the "new pros" should be appropriately trained-or even retrained "relaxicon". The problem is, will it be possible to retrain — many of them for many years. Yes there "rilasci", the rest of the staff, up to senior management, too, must "change his head" and to think of new digital realities. That is a personnel issue with the digital modernisation of the electricity sector will not be the last.

Today, Russia is actively working on the development of technology, GCHQ, launched a number of pilot projects, leading Russian companies have started to develop domestic products and solutions. We can only hope that industry leaders were sympathetic to these works and relied on domestic producers (including in the field) and has pushed the process of digital standardization. But, however, not only LTP is restricted to the modernization of the power industry.

Intelligent network

Intelligent networks are found not only in the ICT industry. If you create a grid, which collects information from all consumers and producers of energy and based on it redistributes power flows, it is possible to direct them to where the deficit and accumulate where there is excess. In this case every consumer of energy at any moment can become its supplier. This technology has already been developed and is called the smart grid, and networks based on it are called active-adaptive networks (due to the fact that there are elements actively changing your settings depending on changing consumption mode). As we already know, the most important element of such networks are TSPS.

The smart grid involves the creation of intelligent electricity system, which, with all the current information about the network status and consumption, will distribute current energy resources received both from industrial producers and private users. The excess energy will be accumulated in special storage facilities and used during peak loads. In other words, the energy system of the future can be considered as peer-to-peer network very similar to the Internet, in which consumers along with the electricity providers will become active participants in the process of distribution and consumption of electricity. Like the Internet, increase the efficiency of the entire system is due to the decentralization of functions to generate and control the flow of electricity and information in the energy system, as well as through cost reduction for the organization of the transmission system, operational Troubleshooting and the ability to transfer power and information in two directions.


Today the concept of the smart grid is viewed in many countries as the beginning of large-scale transition to renewable energy sources (VIZ) in the face of the sun, wind and water, although the approach to this concept may be somewhat different. The widespread accumulation of surplus energy could become a growth driver of hydrogen energy and electric vehicles. For example, California intends by 2020. to generate 12000 MW through VISAS at the local power plants. According to Pike Research, by this time regional driver SmartGrid will be China, and the global scope of the relevant market will exceed 70 billion U.S. dollars. But really, you should be able to create such batteries, and to redirect the flow of electricity.

Today, as we all know, we have no choice in the electricity supplier despite the approval of certain "great reformers" about the presence of the so-called electricity market. But in the smart grid the consumer has the opportunity to optimize load capacity to minimise costs and generate income from your personal plant. So that someday in addition to planned Government of the Russian Federation of social norms of electricity consumption, we may have the appear and multirate electricity meters from different vendors.

However, it is not so simple. The concept of the smart grid, of course, beautiful, but to implement all of the above, the electric power industry will require the development of new technologies in different areas, which experts attribute the creation of intelligent measuring instruments (SmartMetering), the development of components of the electrical network and devices manage the flow of power, the development of energy storage systems (batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors, pumped storage, etc.), the development of distributed generation and the creation of smart grids demand management.
Something already appears in front of our eyes. Not so long ago scientists of far Eastern Federal University and Institute of Automation and control Processes Feb RAS has created a unique method of diagnostics of high voltage equipment in the on-line mode based on the analysis of the spectra of its own electromagnetic radiation. The invention has several clear advantages over traditional methods of diagnosis. There is no need to turn off the equipment, information about the appearance and development of defect immediately appears in the electromagnetic radiation, there is no need to develop special instruments for recording and processing information. And most important defect is fixed at a very early stage of its emergence and development. The invention has ten patents and is unique. It remains to add that it "asks" in the CPS.

The upcoming road

To date, widespread implementation of innovations in the power industry, as usual, hampered by imperfect legislation, insufficient funding and a cautious attitude to new things. Here, for example, in China legislated that all new substations should be built only in the form of TSPS in the US and Europe, a significant number of such objects is already in pilot operation to experience and transition to this technology. In Russia such a practice yet, but it seems to be, already is "conceptual mind." There are pilot projects TSPS, which, incidentally, produce a very dramatic effect like stranded in the middle of the village houses the helicopter. Someone will be surprised and will go on to harness a cart, someone will be interested and come closer, and someone he will go back into the house and climb on the stove. But hope, as always, on innovators.

Alexander GOLYSHKO


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