As India's largest private power distributor, Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra) energizes two out of every three homes in Delhi and Mumbai. In an environment notorious for power losses, efficient electricity distribution networks represent the means to achieve higher reliability and meet demand growth. Using an integrated Network Manager™ SCADA and Distribution Management System (DMS) from ABB, RInfra has applied the state-of-the-art technology to deliver higher availability, protect and extend asset life and significantly mitigate outages downtime—planned and unplanned. The ongoing modernization of the RInfra power distribution networks with ABB’s enterprise software solutions has since contributed directly to a reduction of distribution losses to 12 percent, the lowest in the country.
Reliance Infrastructure Limited is India’s leading private utility with presence across the energy value chain, from generation, transmission and distribution to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and trading. A part of Reliance Group, Reliance Infrastructure is India’s largest infrastructure company. It distributes more than 36 billion units of electricity to 30 million consumers and generates 941 MW of electricity from its power stations.
Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) generates, transmits and trades electricity from its power stations. As the leading private utility in transmission and distribution in India, it distributes power to more than 30 million consumers across India, including Delhi and Mumbai. As the demand growth for electricity consumption increased over the years, RInfra's biggest challenge to meeting this demand has centered on achieving high availability of power. Traditionally, distribution losses topped 30 percent, necessitating a focused response to improve the performance of the last leg in RInfra's power supply chain.
The distribution operations of RInfra's power supply chain has since driven the singular goal of reducing outage downtime—both planned and unplanned. The strategies identified to achieve success were clear:
- Improve outage restoration
- Reduce load shedding
- Maintain voltage profile consistency
With significant growth opportunities and market presence at stake, RInfra sought a proven and robust enterprise solution for its control room operations with advanced distribution management applications and enhanced human machine interface (HMI) features. RInfra additionally sought to increase visibility and control of its distribution network by procuring the installation of feeder remote terminal units (FRTUs) at its ring main units, which comprise a secondary distribution system designed to supply uninterrupted power through alternate sources. In parallel with the planned operational improvements, key business processes such as the ones used to integrate with the intrastate Availability Based Tariff (ABT) system—the frequency-based pricing mechanism for electric power in India—were targeted for optimization.
With previous in-house experience implementing SCADA systems, RInfra modernized its distribution operations with a highly integrated Network Manager SCADA and ADMS solution from ABB. It delivered real-time monitoring and control alongside advanced network applications to RInfra's distribution network, promoting an able environment to address its key challenges.
Complementing full SCADA functionality, the enterprise solution incorporated advanced distribution applications to optimize network utilization, among them fault location, isolation and system restoration (FLISR), load flow calculations and volt-var control. The modern SCADA solution provides a more accurate representation of the as-operated electrical distribution network while robust distribution capabilities have improved the accuracy and quickness in the fault-zone determination, isolation and restoration of RInfra's low voltage distribution network.
In addition, the solution was designed with an islanding scheme intended to mitigate power disturbances by enabling each distribution point to receive power from either direction in the case of a fault. The advantage of this multi-directional power flow design lay in the high reliability delivered by multiple power sources. FRTUs have also been installed to monitor the fault indications along the sections, facilitating faster identification of faults and power restoration on non-faulty sections through the alternate sources.
Finally, the solution was integrated to other enterprise systems such as RInfra's geographical information system (GIS), which enabled more efficient utilization of the DMS capabilities, and their State Load Dispatch Center (SLDC), which facilitated the implementation of the ABT mechanism and the optimization of its related business processes.
It was important to migrate from the previous system to the new one with minimum impact and deliver a familiar interface that could easily be adopted by control room operators. Ensuring a clear understanding of the system's operation was also key to accelerating the adoption of new features. These deployment goals were accomplished with a joint, dedicated RInfra-ABB implementation team, a professional training curriculum and targeted system testing.
"The availability of important real-time information from generation, transmission and the distribution network in one centralized location has enabled quick decision making during major grid failures and other faults," said Reliance Infrastructure Head of SCADA Maintenance Bhushan R. Chaudhari. "The system as a whole is highly reliable. Our operations team is fully dependent on the SCADA system for their daily operations and network analysis."
The user-friendly displays at operator workstations have further helped system control engineers operate geographically scattered elements of the distribution network with ease.
Significant operational gains achieved in RInfra's distribution network include:
- Reduced outage downtime by 45%
- Reduced overall distribution losses to 12%--the lowest in the country
- Reduced the Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI)
- Extended asset life by protecting generation plants at Dahanu, Maharashtra from tripping during major grid disturbances, a benefit resulting from the powerful combination of the automatic load shed application with the islanding infrastructure scheme
- Improved operational excellence and work processes
Collectively, the integrated Network Manager SCADA/DMS solution from ABB has directly met the overarching challenge to increase availability by reducing the downtime of outages. RInfra continues to derive value from the broad ABB portfolio of operational management, control and enterprise solutions. Planned upgrades look to leverage next generation distribution and control applications, smart design and optimization tools.