Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Survalent developing analytics tool to predict grid status

Steve Rogerson
September 12, 2017
Survalent, a Canadian provider of distribution management systems, is developing a data analytics tool that will more accurately predict the state of an electric grid based on detailed network connectivity modelling and telemetry from field devices.
Funded in part by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund, Survalent’s DSE distribution state estimation engine will be tested at Oakville Hydro where it will be used with the company’s FLISR fault location, isolation and service restoration system to establish a self-healing network in the utility’s service territory.
“This project presents a tremendous opportunity for us to accelerate the development of a competitive, state-of-the-art distribution management system application for the electric utility market,” said Steve Mueller, president and chief executive officer of Survalent. “Utilities like Oakville Hydro will soon be able to leverage our advanced DSE engine to improve FLISR load transfer calculations, resulting in less outage time, increased network reliability and greater customer satisfaction.”
The DSE tool will extend the functionality of Survalent’s existing DPF distribution power flow application to deliver a more accurate estimate of the network state in any given switching configuration, while taking into account smart-grid technologies. By providing more detailed insight into power flows and power quality, DSE should increase grid situational awareness and make it possible for FLISR systems to improve self-healing outcomes.
“We do our best to prepare for different load and outage scenarios, but we’re still very reactive when it comes to day-to-day load management,” said Jeff Mocha, director of smart grid and asset management at Oakville Hydro. “With this application, we’ll be able to fine-tune our switching practices in advance, and maintain optimal voltage and load. From a systems perspective, it will be an enhanced level of capability.”
Oakville Hydro operates a progressive round-the-clock control room correlating smart meter information with automated distribution equipment to drive efficient system operation. Driving towards additional system enhancement, it is in the process of gathering detailed information about network components and augmenting geographic information system records, all of which will be used to generate a high-quality network connectivity model that the DSE and FLISR applications can reference.
The real-time grid automation enabled by DSE and FLISR will provide a foundation for additional smart-grid strategies at Oakville Hydro, such as the integration of renewable energy into their network.
“This is a transition from a wires company philosophy, where we just connect supply and demand and restore when there’s a problem, to actively taking part in energy management within our system,” said Mocha.
Oakville Hydro’s implementation of Survalent FLISR with the DSE application is expected to reduce the duration and extent of power outages, a significant benefit for customers, especially those with large commercial and industrial operations.
Survalent expects to wrap up the DSE pilot project at Oakville Hydro by June 2018.