Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Siemens and Utilidata combination lets damaged grids automatically reconfigure

Steve Rogerson
February 16, 2016
 
German technology giant Siemens is partnering Rhode Island company Utilidata to provide a system that improves grid reliability and distribution efficiency.
 
The technology uses circuit reconfiguration and topology information switching, combining the functionality of Siemens SDFA distribution feeder automation fault location, isolation and service restoration system with Utilidata’s AdaptiVolt software for volt and VAR optimisation. Together, the technologies enable automatic reconfigurations in response to faults to incorporate real-time information from the substation level.
 
“By integrating our products, Siemens and Utilidata are able to provide greater value to utilities looking to change and adapt to the realities of today’s evolving distribution grid model,” said Mike Carlson, president, of Siemens’ digital grid operation in the USA. “Combined, SDFA and AdaptiVolt enable greater efficiency in reconfiguring and managing load, resulting in energy savings and enhanced reliability for utilities.”
 
Both technologies leverage real-time data and automate decision making in distribution load management. The SDFA automatically locates and isolates faulted line sections and restores service to healthy line sections, making use of pole-mounted devices such as the Siemens 7SC80 circuit automation controller. While the SDFA can make automatic decisions for reconfiguration one circuit at a time, the lack of power flow information makes it difficult to balance load between circuits.
 
AdaptiVolt gathers data from the entire distribution system, and can share its critical power-flow information from the substation to enable greater efficiency in reconfiguring the circuits and help better manage the reconfiguration of the loads through the SDFA. The combination of substation information, information drawn from pole-mounted devices and SDFA’s circuit reconfiguration capabilities, all working in tandem, produces system enhancement and boosts reliability.
 
“The ability to extract this kind of real-time data from the entire distribution system will enable utilities to make smarter decisions and realise true value from the industrial internet of things while gaining immediate benefits for customers,” said Scott DePasquale, CEO and chairman of Utilidata. “With three to five per cent energy savings, AdaptiVolt provides an immediate return on investment, while also maximising the long-term benefits of smart grid reliability and efficiency.”
 
Utilidata works with electric utilities to enhance energy efficiency and grid security. The company’s technology captures real-time data from the grid giving utilities information needed to save energy, mitigate issues caused by distributed energy resources, and better detect grid anomalies. With major clients including American Electric Power, National Grid and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Utilidata is backed by venture capital firms and is expanding across North America, Asia and the Middle East. The company has a research and development facility at its headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island.