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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Tomorrow - "Grid Should Not Die"

One key aspect of Grids of tomorrow is- it should be able to provide un-interrupted power to the customers. In other word "grid should not die". In order to achieve this or the make the supply down-time minimum, the most widely discussed technology among utility experts in modern era is 'self-healing'. This is considered to be key aspect of Smart Grid.
Self-healing - from the terminology itself it is clear that it deals with 'automatic restoration of supply after any breakdown or automation prevention of breakdown itself'. This is directly linked with 'Reliability' of power supply. For years utilities are striving to become more reliable. This newly evolving technology is proving the utility a great hope to overcome this age-old pain area.
As of today there are two different versions of self-healing grid-
1) SCADA/DMS/ADA - The utility SCADA/DMS has evolved over the years. This system was initially developed for centralized remote monitoring and control of the huge utility transmission and distribution network. The older version of SCADA/DMS system was reactive in nature. This means when a fault will occur in the network, the operator will receive an alarm from the system and then will in turn will isolate and restore the system (if possible from remote, otherwise intimate field crew for necessary action). All these manual intervention in an automated SCADA/DMS system was increasing the time for restoration of supply, in turn affecting utility reliability indices (SAIDI, CAIDI, MAIFI etc.).
Then comes the next generation advanced SCADA/DMS system integrated with advanced distribution automation (ADA) system and advanced application system. New modern SCADA/DMS application like FISR (fault isolation and service restoration) and FLOC (fault location) are basically designed for fast and automation restoration of supply after necessary isolation in case of a fault scenario. This drastically reduces the human intervention in automated system and improves utility reliability significantly. But this modern SCADA/DMS with advanced application built in them comes with a high cost also. This is one aspect of self-healing grid.

2) WAMPAC (Wide area monitoring, protection and control) and PMS - This is a more advanced way for monitoring and control of utility transmission and distribution network beyond conventional SCADA/DMS system. Even with the advanced SCADA/DMS system utility was only able to achieve faster isolation and restoration than before. But still it is a 'reactive system' as it can only work after a fault occurred in the system. The WAMPAC system integrated with advanced protection system (like PMS- phaser monitoring unit, based on synchrophaser measurement technology) can actually generate an alarm prior to actual occurrence of a possible fault and allows the system itself or the operator to take necessary corrective action prior to occurrence of the fault to avoid the fault.
This system is becoming popular very fast, as it can prevent Blackouts of a huge transmission and distribution network as it occurred in California in 2001.
This is also an advanced version of self-healing grid.

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