The concept of a digital substation has long been an insubstantial thing – an ideal vision of all-knowing substations networked into an intelligent grid. But the concept is now a lot more practical so the specifics of what makes a substation “digital”, and why that is such a desirable thing, can be discussed.
Digital signaling offers excellent reliability and capacity, and has been in use in power infrastructure for decades. Most existing electricity grids employ digital fiberoptic networks for the reliable and efficient transport of operation and supervision data from automation systems in substations – and even power line networks carry tele-protection signals these days. But only now are the advantages of standardized digital messaging starting to extend into the deeper substation environment.
Without standards, the adoption of digital messaging for intrasubstation communication was piecemeal and fragmented, with mutually incompatible signaling creating an assortment of messaging within vertical silos. ABB has long championed industry adoption of IEC 61850, a standard with which the company has been intimately involved since its inception.
In this paper, ABB’s Product Management team go into detail on the advantages of the digital messaging in the substation environment.