Today’s utilities depend on automatic systems to monitor, control, and protect their network and the investment it represents.
Modern automation isn’t just about collecting, and collating, data; though that remains a central task of any automation system, the increasing intelligence of IED’s, Relays and RTUs offers scope for greater autonomy too. Decisions can be made locally, or in concert with other local devices, while centralized SCADA systems alert human operators to decisions made by the machines.
Electric grids have always featured a degree of automation; the fuse doesn’t check with head office before burning out, but modern systems permit an unprecedented delegation of responsibility.
Utilities around the world are looking to add intelligence to their substations, but must also remain compatible with their existing systems. Standards are critical to such compatibility, which must extend across vendors as well as devices, so conformance with IEC61850, and related standards, is essential.