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Get on the Digital Bus to Substation Automation

Get on the Digital Bus to Substation Automation



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Published by: aminuddinmu on Dec 24, 2008
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may/june 2007
 power & energy magazine
1540-7977/07/$25.00©2007 IEEE
SINCE NUMERICAL CONTROLand protection devices became part of the very traditional technical area of high-voltage substations,digital com-munication links also entered the con-trol and protection systems startingfrom telecommunication down to thebay control and protection panels. Start-ing with manufacturers’proprietary pro-tocols via nationally standardizedprotocols to internationally standardizedprotocols and from electrical (copper)wiring to fiber-optic links,substationautomation became accepted worldwideand most new installations are equippedwith digital technology. Over the yearsdigital communication has proven itslong-term reliability and availability inall operational conditions of high-volt-age substations.One of the most driving componentsin the field of substation automation isthe usability of the industrial Ethernet.In contrast with the earlier communica-tion systems,Ethernet has its original
 power & energy magazine
may/june 2007
base not in the industrial sector but in the office environment.Today,almost all office infrastructures are based on Ethernet.Therefore,this technology is approved worldwide in millionsof applications and there is a broad knowledge of the basicEthernet protocols. Nevertheless,applications in the field of substation automation require additional features regarding:
reliability,availability and redundancy features
enhanced environmental conditions
provision of services for short response times.Taking into account the enormous progress reached inEthernet technology over the years the decision was made toinclude it in the IEC 61850 standard.The IEC 61850 standard series provides not only an openinternational communication platform,but with its substationconfiguration language and its structures it is also a tool for aclear and definite description of the control and protectionfunctions and their correlations. The hundreds of applicationsinstalled and in operation since the completion of IEC 61850in May 2004 show a high degree of acceptance of this standardand stipulate that a ring-redundant infrastructure with 100Mb/s Ethernet switching technology (thus preventing telegramcollisions) is most efficient for the level of the so-called stationbus application. In this case,lots of event-driven messages oruser-initiated controls are sent over the ring-redundant infra-structure. In addition,a time synchronization of all deviceswith a resolution of 1 ms is needed for proper time stamping of telegrams to organize the event and message queues properly.The station bus switch-over time to change to the redun-dant mode is 10 to 50 ms or greater,depending on the struc-ture and size of the communication network. In themeantime,the IEC 61850 standard has been applied in sub-station business worldwide and has become a standardrequirement in specifications of high-voltage substations.Digital bus communication has proven its advantages inthe station bus from bay control units and protection relaysup to the telecommunication interface for several reasons:
the limitations of conventional wiring are no longervalid,such no remaining wire for routing of the lastmissing alarm
with fiber optics,there is no need for tricky surge pro-tection and screen handling
any information once introduced to the electronic sys-tem can be made available at any location of the digitalnetwork 
rerouting of information in the network is possiblewithout hardware modification
clarification,parameterization,and programming inparallel to manufacturing of hardware are possible
there is a way to extend systems without hardwaremodification of the existing system
by use of fiber-optic interfaces,there are less damagerisks due to short circuit,overload,and fire in over-flowing cable trays and channels.The investment into the necessary additional electronicmodules and communication networks most often will becovered by the savings in the field of the conventional wiring(cable costs,copper,steel,concrete),but nonetheless theinvestment will pay off with the higher operation and mainte-nance comfort over the life time of the system.
Development of ProcessBus Communication
Based on all the above-mentioned advantages it becomesobvious to extend substation automation into the high-volt-age bays (for principle bus structure please refer to Figure 1).Approximately ten years ago,several manufactures hadalready developed and installed process bus systems in high-voltage substations for digital communication up to the high-voltage device (circuit breaker,disconnector,etc.) itself.When venturing into this new area at that time,R&D special-ists had to deal with new challenges:
R&D specialists from the “high voltage”and “elec-tronics”ends of the electrotechnical world had to finda common language and way to work together
handling of vitally important functions such as protec-tion required far-increased reliability and availability
additional handling of monitoring data,time-criticalsignals like trips,and the digitized voltage and currentsignals (so-called sampled values) required a differentperformance class
increased environmental stresses regarding tempera-tures,mechanical shock,electromagnetic fields,andvoltage stresses at the interfaces were experienced.Based on the hardware platform developed some tenyears ago,which came to its limit in handling the processbus tasks and the different manufacturer-specific commu-nication protocols,there was no real breakthrough for thistechnology. There were a few projects around the worldthat required the process bus,and a number of substationshave been running properly over the years,but there wasno ignition effect as was seen for the IEC 61850 stationbus application in the last two years.
Digital communication has proven its advantagesin high voltage substations from bay control and protectionup to the telecommunication interface.
may/june 2007
 power & energy magazine
 A New Generation of Process Bus
During the last ten years enormous progress has been madein hardware technology and also in harmonization of interna-tional standards. Now we have in IEC 61850 an internationalstandard covering the process bus level as well. Moreover,inthe new IEC standard IEC 62271-3,the area of intelligentswitching such as circuit breakers and disconnectors are spec-ified and described in detail with various application exam-ples (see Figure 1). The challenge is now to extend this areaof the process bus from control,monitoring,and trip signalsof switching devices to digitized current and voltage measur-ing signals (sampled values). With IEC 61850-9-2 standardiz-ing the sampled values,there is a base for the operation of merging units and protection relays of different manufactur-ers on one process bus. For a few selected protection func-tions,one can see the interoperability running in pilotprojects and at international fairs with products from a fewmanufacturers. There are still many R&D activities necessaryto cover 100% of the control,monitoring,and protectionfunctions on the bay level. Furthermore,the internationalstandardization committees are working to keep the harmo-nizing and interoperability of electronic devices at as high alevel as possible. With a new generation of hardware provid-ing much higher performance and the progress in harmoniza-tion,the preconditions for a new generation of process busapplications are better than ever before.
Reliability,Availability,and Redundancy Features of the Process Bus
With vitally important functions of the substations now depend-ing on this communication,the extraordinary high requirementsregarding availability and reliability of such a communicationsystem have to be secured.Last time new developed hardware was used just leavingthe laboratories to get the necessary performance,but thistime,even the actual standard technology (100 MB) that is
 figure 1.
Substation bus structure.
Structure with Real-Time Ethernet Process-BusHMIStationControlBusbarProtectionCircuit BreakerDisconnector/ Grounding SwitchVTCTRemoteInterface CircuitBreakerControlDisconnector /GroundingSwitch ControlMerging UnitBayControlBaySwitchBayProtectionStation LevelBay LevelProcess LevelMeteringSensors (p/T/s..)Monitoring andAnalyzingIEC 61850-8-1with Standard EthernetIEC 61850-8-1 and 9-2IEC 62271-3with Real-Time Ethernet 
The enlarged digital area in substations offers wide rangesand easy adjustment of parameters for an improved fitnessof the investment for future demands.

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