At the Oracle Spatial User Conference in Washington DC this week, Don Guatto, COO and VP Engineering at Burlington Hydro and Geoff Cameron, EVP Intelligent Networks at AGSI gave a rivteing presentation on Burlington Hydro's (BHI) smart grid implementaton for the utility's GridSmartCity initiatives.
BHI is a utility near Toronto with 65000 meters, 32 substations and 93 employees. The GridSmartCity initiatives include
- self healing networks - this initiative has reduced average outage times in BHI's service area to 20 seconds per year
- smart meters - Burlington is in Ontario which has deployed smart meters and time-of-use pricing province wide
- distributed generation - Ontario has a Feed-in-Tariff program which has led to the deployment of over 7000 micro-generation projects, mostly solar
- electric vehicle (EV) charging stations
- factory ride-through systems - enabling factories to continue functioning through outages
- battery-based electric storage
Smart grid management system for operations and analytics
An independent consultant hired by BHI made a recommendation with far reaching implications for BHI. "Two of the main factors affecting GIS today are the move towards using internet technology to be able to serve GIS data to a much broader user base and efforts by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to promote interoperability. BHI needs to implement a new GIS that will fit its technology vision and provide the benefits of today's GIS to BHI operations."
Based on this recommendation BHI determined that the foundation for their smart grid management system would be an open architecture based on open standards. This would allow them to integrate their SCADA system, 65 000 smart meters reporting power use every 15 minutes, the supporting automated meter infrastructure (AMI), intelligent devices, power line sensors, a customer information system (CIS), their ERP system, engineering analysis, and other systems. It would utilize bidirectional communications to both receive information from and control smart devices. The system would have handle much larger data volumes than BHI had ever experienced before. For example, some devices were reporting 60 times per second. And perhaps the most challenging requirement is that it also had to operate real-time, which as Geoff emphasized, is beyond the capability of today's traditional enterprise GIS systems.
AGSI's solution uses their Go360 products which provide a scalable, geospatially-enabled solution built on an open service oriented web architecture. It uses Oracle Spatial for a shared, geospatia data repository and AutoCAD Map 3D for design and geospatial data maintenance. A web browser, either on the desktop or on a mobile device, is all that's required to access tools for asset maintenance, cable locate, asset managemet, operations, financials and drill downs, automating network pinning and work protection tagging, SCADA, schematic views, automated CAIDI, SAIDI and SAIFI reporting, an outage management system (OMS), mobile workforce automation, automated as-built management, real-time asset monitoring and analytics, and an executive dashboard.
One of the most impressive Go360 applications that Geoff demonstrated was a transformer status monitoring dashboard that not only showed a map with transformer loading in real- in the form of a heat map, but could also report on historical loading and even estimate, based on the history of oveloading on a particuler transformer, how much the lifetime of the transformer had been shortened as a result of the overloading. It also allowed the operator to reconfigure the grid in real time to reduce the load on overlloaded transformers and redistribute it to others with available capacity.
What impressed me most was to see how an open IT architecture based on open standards together with industry standard off-the-shelf components, a bidirectional communications network and real-time smart devices and sensors has enabled BHI to develop a state of the art real-time geospatially-enabled smart grid operations and management system that integrates with their existing enterprise systems and provides a common point of access to all their operational data.
BHI has plans to contnue to develop smart grud applications in the future, but I think that they have built a strong IT foundation for their future smart grid development.