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Enabling efficient engineering processes and automated analysis for power protection systems

Hong, Qiteng and Blair, Steven M. and Booth, Campbell D. and Catterson, Victoria M. and Dysko, Adam and Rahman, Tahasin (2015) Enabling efficient engineering processes and automated analysis for power protection systems. IEEE Systems Journal. ISSN 1932-8184

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Abstract

The reliable operation of power networks depends on the correct configuration of protection systems. These systems involve the coordination of devices across a wide area, each with numerous setting parameters. Presently, protection settings data are typically stored in various vendor-specific proprietary formats, which are difficult to access, interchange, and manipulate automatically. Consequently, the engineering processes for implementing modern protection systems are extremely complex, involving multiple software tools from different vendors. This paper presents a novel solution to these challenges, through the use of the data model provided by the IEC 61850 standard, with the System Configuration description Language (SCL) format to represent protection settings data. The design of a Protection Setting data Conversion Tool (PSCT) that can automatically convert existing settings data between proprietary formats and the SCL-based format is presented. A case study of its implementation demonstrates the benefits of the common representation of protection settings for network operators and other stakeholders. The paper also addresses the challenges that network operators face in migrating to the new approach from existing legacy protection devices and data formats. Adoption of these recommendations and design approaches would shift protection systems from being largely single-vendor solutions to becoming efficient and truly open platforms, capable of supporting future intelligent applications and tools such as automated protection settings validation, diagnostics, and system simulation.