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Unified Grid Intelligence

SUBNET’s Unified Grid Intelligence is an interoperability philosophy which drives our holistic approach to real-time integration of intelligent utility systems. This Unified Grid Intelligence philosophy is illustrated in the graphic below.
SUBNET Unified Grid Intelligence Diagram
Figure 1
SUBNET's Unified Grid Intelligence Philosophy

Overview of SUBNET Unified Grid Intelligence Diagram

The diagram (figure 2) includes many elements encompassing the key business features of an electrical utility.

The outside columns represent a utility’s major capital investments in transmission and distribution, and their human resources.

A utility’s major capital investments in T&D, and their human resources
Figure 2
High voltage transmission and distribution assets
On the outside left are the high voltage transmission and distribution assets that make up the electrical grid.

These include power lines, breakers, transformers, circuit switchers, cap banks, and other equipment investments.

On the outside right are the utility professionals responsible for designing, constructing , operating and maintaining our safe and reliable power grid.
Utility professionals responsible for maintaining our safe and reliable power grid

Moving inward, the next 2 columns (figure 3) represent the intelligent devices and systems electrical utilities have invested billions of dollars in over the past several decades to more efficiently and reliably operate and maintain the power grid.

Intelligent devices and systems electrical utilities have invested in
Figure 3
Different Intelligent Electronic Devices
On the left are the many different Intelligent Electronic Devices or IEDs installed in substations or on T&D feeders to provide real-time measurement, monitoring, control and protection of the high voltage power grid assets. These include meters, relays, RTUs, DFRs, breakers and transformer monitors from many different vendors.

On the right are the wide variety of utility business computer-based management systems installed on the corporate enterprise. These include SCADA, energy and asset management systems, outage management systems data historians, and other analytical tools from many different vendors.
Wide variety of utility business computer-based management systems

The middle of the diagram (figure 4) shows the investment electrical utilities make in a variety of telecommunication networks that allow for voice communications between utility personnel, and data communications between intelligent systems at key points throughout a utility’s service territory. Utilities deploy a variety of different communication technologies including Frame Relay, SONET, Wireless, Fiber, Satellite and WiMAX.

Telecommunication networks used within substations
Figure 4
Telecommunication networks
The point of all of these investments in technology was to create a more intelligent power grid, and individually they all perform their primary function very well. The major challenge utilities encounter with these systems is around implementing solutions that allow these systems to effectively interoperate. Often the result of an electrical utility’s integration efforts is a combination of many different legacy integration devices from a variety of vendors, each performing a single, specific integration function (figure 5).
  • SCADA vendor specific RTUs
  • Relay vendor specific communication processors
  • Telecom equipment vendors specific dial-up security devices
  • Industrial HMI vendor products with 3rd-party OPC servers
  • DFR vendor gateway solutions
  • Business system specific data-collection drivers or interfaces

Integration efforts is a combination of many different legacy devices from a variety of vendors
Figure 5
Many different legacy integration devices from a variety of vendors

A key reason for this lack of interoperability include the abundance of proprietary and vendor specific protocols and data formats requiring use of vendor specific integration solutions. Another is utilities’ traditional departmentalized approach tends to promote these vendor-specific integration solutions versus a more holistic smart grid integration approach. SUBNET’s Unified Intelligence Solution offers integration, regardless of the IED vendor, and aligns with the goal of true multi-vendor, multi-function integration.

SUBNET Unified Grid Intelligence Solution

SUBNET’s Unified Grid Intelligence philosophy is a holistic approach providing interoperable solutions between many different field devices, to many different business systems, over many different types of communication networks (figure 6). The goal of these solutions is to provide true multi-vendor, multi-function interoperability between any intelligent electronic device, to any utility business system, securely over any communication network. SUBNET’s solutions integrate with your company’s existing IEDs, IT networks and engineering productivity tools to deliver data efficiently and securely to your analysts, maintenance personnel and SCADA operators.

SUBNET Unified Grid Intelligence Solution
Figure 6
SUBNET's Unified Grid Intelligence Philosophy

Any Device to one Unified SubSTATION Intelligence System

SUBNET’s Unified Grid Intelligence solution is comprised of four products. Two products, SubSTATION Server and SubSTATION Explorer are designed to be deployed at substations. These two STATION intelligence products help convert substations full of smart relays and smart meters into a smart substations (figure 7). The goal of STATION Intelligence is to unify the information from any Field Device while making the information more intelligent and secure. SUBNET’s SubSTATION intelligence products are easily upgradeable software applications, so as substation technology moves forward, electrical utilities can keep up with the changes without having to upgrade or replace their existing IEDs.

Any device to one Unified SubSTATION Intelligence System
Figure 7
Any Device to one Unified SubSTATION Intelligence System

SUBNET’s system intelligence products, PowerSYSTEM Server and PowerSYSTEM Center, are designed to be deployed at a centralized location on the utility enterprise. These two SYSTEM intelligence solutions help convert a power system full of smart substations into a Smart Power Grid. System intelligence unifies the source of real-time information to any utility business system that requires it, enabling timely, informed and secure operation of the entire power system (figure 8). These SUBNET PowerSYSTEM Intelligence solutions are also easily upgraded, and evolve with technological change as needed.

One Unified Live System Solution to Many Different Intelligent Systems
Figure 8
One Unified Live System Solution to Many Different Intelligent Systems

Both SUBNET’s SubSTATION intelligence and PowerSYSTEM intelligence solutions support different types of data communication networks that connect substations to central offices. Utilizing SUBNET’s intelligent solutions for real-time data transmission simplifies secure communications (figure 9).

Unified Utility data communications over ANY network (from station to system, over any network)
Figure 9
One Unified Live System Solution to Many Different Intelligent Systems

Unified Grid Intelligence Solution Overview

Today six solutions are supported within SUBNET’s Unified Grid Intelligence. These are denoted by the different coloured lines in the Unified Grid Intelligence Graphic.

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