The Infosys Utilities Blog seeks to discuss and answer the industry’s burning Smart Grid questions through the commentary of the industry’s leading Smart Grid and Sustainability experts. This blogging community offers a rich source of fresh new ideas on the planning, design and implementation of solutions for the utility industry of tomorrow.

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Instrumentation & Control - Enablers for self healing smart grids - Part 1

In my previous blog I mentioned key questions electrical utility need to answer before they start implementing (planning) smart grid projects. These questions are important and relevant due to the fact that smarter grid need fundamental changes to all aspects of the power industry viz.,Business Process, Operational Process, Physical Infrastructure (Grid, IT and Communications), IT & OT Systems, Customer Service & Interfaces.

According to DOE's definition of Smart Grid (ref: "A smart grid is the electricity delivery system (from point of generation to point of consumption) integrated with communications and information technology for enhanced grid operations, customer services, and environmental benefits". Time and again I have blogged on the topic that the focus has so far been on the "customer services, and environmental benefits" side of this definition and that distribution automation and grid upgradation aspects have been left behind during initial phases of smart grid implemenation.

In my opinion the fundamental change that need to be paid attention to now is the point number 2 & 3 of the following excerpt from DOE's smart grid vision:

The United Stated Department of Energy proposes that four types of technology will drive the advancement of smart grids:

1. Integrated, automated communication between components of the electric grid.
2. Sensing and measurement technologies.
3. Automated controls for distribution and repairs.
4. Improved management dashboards and decision support software.

Sensing, measurement, protection and control technologies and their integration with OT and IT systems is what will make our electrical grids self healing. In the NIRVANA state of self-healing Smart Grid the Utility's control center should be able to sense and repair the faults even before the AMI can communicate the last gasp to OMS. Here I don't mean to say in self healing grids there won't be any outages but the impact of an outage will be minimized to smalles possible set of customers. For this intelligent sensors and protection devices with the advanced protection schemes will have to be deployed.

In my future blogs I will continue to elaborate on use of Instrumentation & Control for the self-healing grids using specific use cases that we are developing as part of our Smart Integrator solution (a Smart Grid Integration and Analytics platform ref: Till then keep exploring Infosys vision on Smart Grids and reading insights from my fellow bloggers on Smart Utilities.

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