NOJA Power

Press Release

Published 11/2015

NOJA Power Smart Grid Automation software simplifies enhanced network implementations

PC-based software uses IEC 61499 Function Blocks to build and deploy control and automation applications for single or groups of ACRs, increasing distribution automation flexibility for smart grids.

Computer screen capture of NOJA Power Smart Grid Automation Software (Function Blocks)
NOJA Power Smart Grid Automation Software (Function Blocks)

Electrical switchgear engineers NOJA Power today announces the introduction of its Smart Grid Automation (SGA) software, a PC-based software suite that enables engineers to develop, test and debug advanced functionality for NOJA Power’s OSM series Automatic Circuit Reclosers (ACR or “auto-recloser”).

SGA software significantly increases the flexibility of the ACRs simplifying the implementation of smart grids (see “About smart grids” below). Using the PC-based software, engineers can intuitively develop control and automation applications via an easy-to-use interface. Applications can then be uploaded to NOJA Power’s RC-10 controller for the OSM series ACR or distributed to group of controllers for simulation and debugging before field implementation.

Previously the OSM series ACR’s advanced logic enabled engineers to implement logic expressions to create their own customised operation of the ACR. The release of SGA software significantly enhances these customisation options and adds the capability of distributing the resulting applications simultaneously across groups of ACRs. Such applications help make smart grid implementations easier to develop, deploy and modify.

SGA software uses IEC 61499 Function Blocks (FB) as the basis for constructing the applications. “Basic” FBs feature event and data inputs and outputs to provide synchronisation for data transfer and program execution in distributed systems. Higher level or “composite” FBs can be created which consist of combinations of basic FBs. Applications are built by interconnecting basic and composite FBs.

The SGA software includes FBs created by NOJA Power that read and write data to the RC-10 controller. IEC 61499 also defines a library of FBs for arithmetic functions, conversions and events among others. The libraries also include FBs for exchange of information between Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED) such as OSM series ACRs. This interaction between IEDs is fundamental to the operation of smart grids.

“Because NOJA Power’s auto-reclosers are increasingly being deployed in smart grid implementations we constantly strive to enhance the devices’ flexibility,” says Neil O’Sullivan, NOJA Power’s Managing Director. “SGA software is a significant development in this direction.
“With this software, utilities are now able to develop applications for auto-reclosers that previously weren’t possible. Combined with the software’s ability to distribute the applications across groups of auto-reclosers, utilities can easily establish ‘smart’ interactions between devices considerably enhancing the capability and flexibility of distribution networks.”

SGA software operates in conjunction with NOJA Power’s Relay 1.14 firmware. The firmware supports the RC-10 controller used to control and monitor the OSM series ACR.

NOJA Power’s OSM series ACRs are fundamental elements of smart grids and provide a comprehensive suite of automation features. The units perform voltage measurement on all six bushings, current measurement on all three phases, bidirectional protection and extensive power quality and data logging capability. The OSM series has been fully type-tested by independent laboratory KEMA in the Netherlands to ensure long life and reliability under the harshest environmental conditions. Since their introduction, the OSM series ACRs have been installed by utilities in over 84 countries around the world.

The RC-10 is a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)-ready controller that provides a directional overcurrent, earth fault and sensitive earth fault relay, auto reclosing relay, instantaneous metering, event log, demand logger and remote terminal unit (RTU) for remote control in a single package.

About IEC 61499

IEC 61499 is an open standard for distributed industrial automation systems aiming at portability, reusability, interoperability and reconfiguration of distributed applications. The IEC 61499 model includes processes and communication networks as an environment for embedded devices, resources and applications. Applications are built by networks of Function Blocks which generally provide an Interface for Event I/Os and Data I/Os.

IEC 61499 provides:

  • A combination of distributed programming language and PLC programming with IEC 61131-3;
  • A generic modelling approach for distributed control applications;
  • Function Block concept;
  • Separation of data and event flow.
Computer screen capture of NOJA Power Smart Grid Automation Software (Load Restore Application)
NOJA Power Smart Grid Automation Software (Load Restore Application)

About Smart Grids

Consumer backlash to rising prices, increased raw energy costs, deregulation and pressure from the environmental lobby to limit the construction of new power stations has encouraged utilities to explore the benefits of computerisation and distribution automation in order to enhance the performance of the grid. Such enhanced networks are called “smart grids”.

The implementation of smart grids includes fitting each device on the network with sensors to gather data, and adding bidirectional digital communication between the devices in the field and the utility’s network operations centre. Another key feature of smart grids is the automation technology that lets the utility adjust and control each individual device from a central location.

Smart grids automatically monitor, protect, and optimize the operation of their interconnected elements from the central and distributed generators through the high-voltage transmission- and distribution networks, to industrial users and end-use consumers.

Smart grids enable bidirectional flows of energy and use two-way communication and control capabilities that lead to new capabilities such as connection of distributed renewable energy sources and better management of demand peaks. Further, smart grids promise improved efficiency that reduces total energy demand by limiting line losses and encouraging consumers to reduce consumption by flexible pricing and other tariff incentives. This improved efficiency and decreased consumption, together with greater use of efficient fossil fuel- and renewable-power sources, reduces the generation of carbon emissions and other pollutants.

Smart grids’ continuous monitoring allows automated systems or operators to detect and act upon dangerous situations or security breaches that threaten reliable and safe operation of the network. In addition, cyber security and privacy protection for customers is significantly enhanced. The built-in intelligence of smart grids allows rapid automatic intervention in the case of faults, limiting outage duration and lowering the utilities’ liabilities to penalties under “availability of service” agreements with the regulators.

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