The Mosquito and the SCADA System
Over the past year, Utility Automation has brought you several features on SCADA implementations, trials and trends. We covered the development of Pennsylvania Power & Light`s hybrid SCADA system (March/April 1997) to Springdale (Ark.) Water Utilities “smart” system (Nov./Dec. 1996). In addition, there`s an analysis of the SCADA market (Jan./Feb. 1997) by PennWell Research which concluded that the market was near saturation for electric and water utilities.
As a research assistant back in 1990, I recall interviewing a few electric utilities on their SCADA practices. Upon inquiring about their use of SCADA, a utility engineer would sometimes respond, “We`ve been planning on SCADA for years but those plans continue to be kept on the backburne,” or even, “Skeeters? Yup, we gots lotsa them critters down in these here parts!” In essence, as little as just five years ago, many utilities (mainly smaller municipals or rural electric cooperatives) had SCADA on their wishlist or did not know what it was at all. Today, we find that virtually all utilities have some kind of implementation, and even integration with other systems operations.
With the North American SCADA market maturing at a rapid pace, many utilities in other parts of the world are now just incorporating this technology into their operations. In particular, utilities in the continents of Central and South America and Asia/Pacific Rim are building infrastructures to accommodate the people of those regions. As discovered at last year`s DA/DSM(TM) DistribuTECH(TM) Asia, utility engineers are enthusiastic in learning of the many benefits of SCADA implementation. And because of this strong interest in foreign lands, we can continue to expect further enhancements in the technology.
Over the years, SCADA and DA technology has evolved to become more powerful and affordable for even a small municipal or rural cooperative. This issue of Utility Automation explores the development of SCADA technology from transmission and distribution to the PC and Internet. We are also proud to have Mike Marullo back as our guest “Perspectives” columnist to share his viewpoints on the evolution of SCADA. We`ll be sure to share more of your experiences on other distribution and information technology topics in future issues of Utility Automation.