Digitization of the Distribution Grid


Co-authored by Jose Peinado

Electrical grids are being modernized to be “smarter” and extra resilient, utilizing cutting-edge applied sciences, tools, and controls that talk and work collectively to ship electrical energy extra reliably and effectively. On the coronary heart of this transformation is the digitization of {the electrical} grid, which incorporates grid administration software program that consumes streams of knowledge from newly digitized energy system endpoints.

As utilities change into extra operationally reliant on digital energy programs to drive reliability, security, and effectivity, they understand that the underlying digital infrastructure–in different phrases, the OT community–has change into foundational to attaining their desired outcomes.

In response, two market leaders have joined forces to ship grid modernization options:

  • Schneider Electrical, a market chief in OT power administration and automation
  • Cisco, a market chief in IT networking and safety

The Schneider Electrical and Cisco collaboration consists of the mixing of the software program, compute, networking, safety, and IOT gadgets required for a profitable modernization of the distribution grid, together with Superior Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Distribution Automation (DA).

Extra particularly, by combining Schneider EcoStruxure structure with Cisco purpose-built industrial networking, cybersecurity, and compute options, Schneider and Cisco collectively may help scale back the general integration danger in digital grid tasks whereas additionally enhancing system reliability and safety.

Modernizing the grid via AMI

Because the evolution to AMI from Automated Meter Studying (AMR), the business has been largely constructed utilizing proprietary programs. Although these proprietary programs helped gasoline the business’s progress when the know-how was new, they’ve now change into limiting elements within the enlargement and innovation of AMI networks. Subsequently, Cisco and Schneider collectively dropped at market an AMI platform constructed on requirements, supporting a wide range of meters. This strategy helps to scale back prices, spur innovation, and forestall vendor lock-in.

Cisco supplies a standards-based community to attach a wide range of meters and endpoints, whereas Schneider EcoStruxure supplies the head-end system used to handle numerous meters. Collectively, they assist allow large-scale AMI deployments whereas delivering decrease operational prices, improved end-customer companies, and smarter, sustainable power for any utility.

A part of the AMI answer consists of the Cisco Area Space Community (FAN). The Cisco FAN permits grid modernization by offering a standards-based, end-to-end, IP-based reference structure that features the seller agnostic Wi-SUN customary utilized by many meter platforms.  It supplies a safe, extremely scalable communication platform that may assist not solely AMI, however DA and renewable purposes circumstances as nicely.

In flip, Schneider Electrical’s EcoStruxure Superior Metering Operation platform leverages their info administration experience to successfully roll out and handle all kinds of meter distributors, together with integration capabilities to maximise subsequent sensible metering returns.

Modernizing the grid via DA

Via DA, the utility business has improved monitoring, management, and administration of the medium and low voltage grids–from the distribution substation to the meters.

Cisco and Schneider have partnered to create an built-in DA answer that mixes the Schneider sensible Ring Essential Unit (RMU) platform with the Cisco DA Area Space Structure, bringing to market options that may assist utilities to:

  • Cut back outage time by detecting faults early and mechanically reconfiguring the community afterward
  • Combine intermittent and distributed technology easily to keep up power high quality and stability
  • Optimize asset administration with superior analytics to handle load shedding and peak shaving, whereas decreasing technical and non-technical losses

Cisco DA area space networks monitor and management power distribution networks through a multiservice FAN answer. This providing is constructed on a versatile two-tier structure that generates IP community companies and presents safety, QoS, resilience, and administration. The power to converge many DA use circumstances throughout a single safe FAN structure lowers the overall price of possession resulting from lowered FAN belongings, simplified outdoors plant infrastructure, spare and experience commonality, and restricted frequency prices.

Schneider’s sensible RMU is built-in with the Cisco FAN gateways and safety and with the Schneider Easergy T300 Distant Terminal Unit (RTU). This built-in RMU supplies a simple to put in, extremely safe distribution grid automation platform that gives improved power availability, superior analytics, optimized asset administration, managed load shedding and peak shaving, and lowered technical and non-technical losses.

The distribution grid is being digitally reworked

Because the power business evolves, utilities are digitally remodeling their energy grids, deploying a wide range of digital options that mix IT and OT performance. Study extra about how market leaders Schneider Electrical and Cisco, who’ve partnered for over 15 years to harness IT and OT convergence, may help you with the digitization of your distribution grid immediately.



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