Siemens digital substation adds resiliency to CenterPoint Energy grid operations

Siemens today announced that the SIPROTEC digital substation with electromagnetic pulse mitigation (EMP) technology has been deployed at a CenterPoint Energy substation to add resiliency and continuity to grid operations.

Utility substations are integral components of the power grids. As they connect differing voltage levels, their controlling and coordinating functions are vitally important to the stability, sustainability, and reliability of the entire system. Hazards such as weather events, flooding, EMP disturbances (either naturally-occurring or human-initiated), and other high-impact yet low-frequency events can negatively affect substation operations.

Siemens’ digital substation with EMP technology, which has been developed in collaboration with CenterPoint Energy and deployed in a substation control house, is shielded from these various hazards, including EMP, for a low-risk, cost-effective solution to address these inherent risks to grid operations.

“EMP has long been known in the utility industry as a potential threat to infrastructure,” says Martin Narendorf, CenterPoint Energy’s Vice President of High Voltage Operations. “EMP disturbances are another category our industry is working to address for a number of reasons, but especially because our customers expect high reliability in their electric service. CenterPoint Energy’s brand promise is “ËœAlways There,”Ëœ and we work hard to maintain continuous operations.”

In some cases, utility infrastructure has been built over hundreds of years, which can make hardening it against potential threats like EMP a time-consuming and costly endeavor.

“This technology meets EMP hardening levels in a repeatable, scalable, and cost-effective manner,” says Eric Easton, Director of Real-Time Operations for CenterPoint Energy. “Existing substations can be retrofit rapidly with the digital substation with EMP mitigation because of its compact footprint, modular concept, and extensive system-level performance testing.”

Installed in a substation control house, Siemens’ digital substation with EMP mitigation effectively remains in standby mode, monitoring the same circuits, voltage data, and operations as the main substation protective devices. In the event of an EMP exposure, the digital substation will take over the control and protection functions to maintain continuity when the main protection becomes compromised or damaged.

“Thanks to our work with CenterPoint Energy, we have a tested and certified digital substation solution working in the field today,” says Rafael Ozaki, Business Unit Head for Digital Grid at Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA. “This solution addresses EMP risk and provides a hardened control and protection solution for utilities across the U.S. and globally.”

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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