EPRI to direct test of utility data on Europe’s transmission grid

Palo Alto, CA, March 3, 2009 — The Union for the Co-Ordination of Transmission of Electricity (UCTE) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), along with 10 European and American companies, will conduct, according to the organizations, one of the largest tests to date of systems to move and exchange utility operations data over Western Europe’s electric transmission system. The tests will be conducted in late March at the facilities of RTE France in Paris.

Because Western Europe’s power grid is a complex interconnection of many countries systems, the exchange of data and the integrity of the data in the various systems’ “interoperability” are crucial in achieving greater reliability and safety for the overall grid.

The week-long test will focus on data exchanges using the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Common Information Model standard. It will comprise a series of tests using three data models, enabling UCTE and EPRI to confirm the accurate and complete transmittal and exchange of test data, even as the data are processed by the various countries’ operating systems.

“The CIM model is an important platform for the seamless communications of data protocols that will enable development of a smart grid,” said Arshad Mansoor, EPRI vice president for power delivery and utilization.

A number of systems have been developed to enable the movement of data over high-voltage transmission lines. The Western European system uses its own data exchange design. As grids become more interconnected and interactive, communicating with “smart” meters and other technologies, the interoperability of utility systems and various technologies has become a crucial area in technology research and development.

The test is being funded by the participating utilities and vendors, under EPRI’s direction. It is anticipated that the capabilities being tested in the Common Information Model will be transferable to the U.S. power grid, with minor changes. UCTE coordinates the operation and development of the electricity transmission grid from Portugal to Poland and from the Netherlands to Romania and Greece.

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