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ABB control upgrade improves grid reliability in Argentina

Edelar S.A. is a power company that operates the entire electrical distribution system in the northwestern Argentine province of La Rioja. Edelar delivers electricity to its 95,000 customers over a network of high, medium and low-voltage power lines, and monitors the substations in this grid with two different supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

An ABB MicroSCADA system delivers data from the capital, La Rioja City, while substations in rest of the province use remote terminal units (RTUs) from GE. Edelar wanted to integrate data collected across the entire network into one SCADA system in order to improve network reliability, and turned to ABB for a solution that includes full integration services, products and training.

With a new SCADA from ABB, Edelar will be able to monitor its entire distribution network with one system, and can also implement IEC 61850 substation communication solutions and integrate them into the same system. (The IEC 61850 standard defines the Ethernet technology for substation automation communication, including protection and control functions. It enables intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) from different manufacturers to “talk with each other” and thus operate with each other.)

By collecting substation information in a single SCADA platform, EDELAR will also be able to increase its current remote control capability by integrating new substations into the new SCADA system.

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ABB is executing the project in two stages. The first comprises upgrading and extending the current ABB MicroSCADA (which has been operating since 1998) for La Rioja City’s five substations. This involves integrating around 110 ABB REF541 feeder terminals and 10 SPACOM protection relays, which are devices designed to protect, control, measure and supervise medium-voltage power networks.

The replacement equipment is composed of ABB’s MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C 2.93, a product family designed mainly for substation automation, electrical SCADA and distribution management applications. MicroSCADA Pro SYS 600C 2.93 includes software with enhanced features that increase cyber security and robust operation; higher data logging capacity; further developed power supply supervision; and significantly improved read/write speeds.

In addition, each La Rioja City substation will receive an ABB AFS675 managed switch to enable Ethernet devices to communicate with each another, and more importantly provide operators with the ability to configure, manage, and monitor local area networks for greater data control and secure access. Stage two of the project involves integrating 28 RTUs from GE located in other cities across the province into the ABB MicroSCADA SYS600c 2.93 platform to create a unified control center. Commissioning is scheduled for August 2015.

Growing electricity consumption in recent decades reflects the rise in commerce and industry in La Rioja province. According to Edelar, peak power demand nearly tripled from 57 megawatts (MW) in 1995 to 164 MW in 2006, while customer numbers during that time doubled. Demand continues to grow, which is driving infrastructure and technology upgrades throughout the territory.

ABB has previously supplied Edelar S.A. with six distribution protection systems and 20 reclosers, as well as spare distribution relays. ABB expertise as an established provider of these systems with broad experience and local presence helped win this order.

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