What is Substation Automation?
Substations are electrical equipment that is required to transform voltage from high to low or the reverse. The conventional electric substation required manual efforts for switching or adjusting the equipment. With the growth in distribution networks, there was a high demand to automate the supervision and control of substations from the centrally attended point. With the growing demand, remote control substations were introduced, which was made with dedicated communication wires. Substation automation is a collection of software and hardware components used to control and access the electrical system, both locally and remotely.
There are three main tasks of substation automation which includes:
It is the process of measuring physical or electrical phenomenon like voltage, temperature, etc. The collected data can be used locally with the device collecting it or being sent to another device in a substation.
Substations use the acquired data to supervise the conditions and the status of the power system.
Traditional SCADA Systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) rely on operators to supervise the operation. Integration of substation helps combine the data from IEDs local to a substation so that there is only a single point of contact in a substation for all the data.
Programmable Logic Controller(PLC)
PLC software is an essential part of automation. It is used for logical control by programming and has numerous benefits. PLC’s are highly reliable and have been made in such a way that they function smoothly under harsh industrial conditions.
Programmable Logic Controllers have been designed to operate correctly over the wide temperature range and in very high electromagnetic noise and vibration environments. It works best in even dusty, moist, heat or cold weather conditions. Here are some of the application for substation automation:
- Protection and control
- Automatic switching
- Voltage regulation management
- Remote control
- Demand control etc.
Advantages of PLC’s:
Following are the benefits of using PLC’s:
- These are programmable.
- It is easier to make changes in the software. Therefore PLC software is in demand these days.
- Reliability is more.
- Special functions like time delay actions can be easy to produce.
- It is a cost-effective control system.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA)
SCADA systems transmit and receive data from any control metering system. It is used to ensure safety and protection in the operations. With SCADA, the entire power plant is controlled remotely. It is used for remote switching, telemetring of grids, communication purpose with Network Control Center(NCC) with other stations etc. It combines enormous amounts of data that arises from multiple processes and arranges them so that critical data can be examined when needed. Also, SCADA allows the users to increase their efficiency.
Advantages offered by SCADA
Following are the advantages offered by using SCADA for substation automation:
- It is reliable software.
- It helps in improving the product quality.
- They are reducing operations and maintenance costs.
- Proper and accurate measurement done by collecting the correct data of load consumption.
Automation has become an essential part of the substation. It helps to remove human errors and automate the system efficiently. Modern substations are equipped with PLC and SCADA, as they are an essential tool. Schneider Electric India offers a one-stop solution for power management systems. They even provide controllers and RTU’s, SCADA and EMS gateways, simulation tools etc. For more details, you can visit their website!