SASO: Smart decision support for optimised network control

With the new Security Assessment and System Optimisation module from PSI, Capula is bringing faster analysis, enhanced visualisation and advanced decision support to power network operations.

The control and management of power networks are becoming increasingly challenging, both for transmission and distribution system operators. Rising end-user demand is pushing up network loading and utilisation. The shift from centralised to distributed energy generation, together with the growth of renewable power sources, means control decisions are both more complex and more frequent. These conditions create problems for operators, including congestion, voltage deviations and can cause outages across parts of the network.

Now, operators can benefit from the first of a new generation of software, designed to simplify and optimise the network control challenge using advanced analytics, visualisation and artificial intelligence-driven decision-support. Developed by power systems software specialist PSI, the new Security Assessment and System Optimisation (SASO) module is designed to give operators a better overview of network status, to help them make effective, proactive decisions, and to prevent problems before they arise.

Understanding the network state

The SASO system uses industry standard methodologies to provide operators with an automated, real time view of current network conditions. The software integrates directly with the operator’s existing SCADA/EMS system to collect data on asset configuration, switching positions and measured voltage, current and power flow. Using the State Estimation module, a consistent network view is created. The future status is determined based on load forecast information and power flow calculations. In addition, the system carries out contingency analysis, evaluating the stability of the network in the event of a circuit failure.

Optionally, SASO can also determine voltage stability, setting the current safety margin, helping to avoid voltage collapse under high load conditions. A transient stability analysis sub-system analyses the network status, from the generation point of view, and models the reaction of generation to load changes due to disturbances. This helps to strengthen the network by choosing appropriate protection settings without the need for investment in new equipment.

Evaluating control options

Where the SASO module identifies an issue with the network, either in the current network configuration or a (n-1) contingency case, such as voltage limit violations, the system will provide corrective actions. It will immediately provide the operator with full details of the problem in alphanumeric and graphical form. Simultaneously, SASO will automatically evaluate the control options available to bring the network back into a secure state. These might include network-related changes, such as switching operations, transformer tap changes or adjustments to generator and HVDC converter set-points. They can also include market-related actions, such as generator re-despatching. The output of this process is a list of alternative sets of actions, any of which could be adopted to address the issue.

Smart decision support

In most real-world network control situations, operators have multiple options available to bring back the system to the desired state. Each of those options will have different, and often contradictory, implications for the network. Some choices may place additional load on assets, increasing wear and potentially driving up maintenance costs or shortening asset life. Others may lead to an increase in short-term costs, such as the need to switch on generating assets or import additional power from outside the network. It is here that the SASO smart decision-support sub-system has the potential to have a significant impact. This system uses Artificial Intelligence technologies to evaluate the available options against multiple criteria set by the operator. It then ranks its results in order of priority. Depending on its technical and commercial requirements, an operator can ask the system to prefer changes to compensation equipment over generator control adjustments, or vice versa, for example. Or the system can be set to prefer solutions with the fastest reaction times, the lowest cost, or those which do not require action by third parties.

Operator benefits

SASO has been designed for ease of integration with existing network control infrastructure. The module uses standard data exchange interfaces compliant with the CIM standard IEC 61970-600 (CGMES) and other standard interfaces allowing the system to integrate with an operator’s SCADA/ EMS and other utility data sources. This makes SASO a uniquely cost-effective way for operators to access the benefits of advanced network management. By providing operators with a clearer view of present and forecast network conditions, and by automatically evaluating and prioritising control options, SASO helps to address many of today’s critical network management challenges. It delivers an early warning of situations that could lead to outages or voltage problems. It also reduces the burden on operations staff and helps them make better, faster control decisions.

By optimising control decisions, SASO can reduce costs in both the short and long term. It lessens the need to redespatch generation resources that lie outside the operator’s direct control. It cuts equipment loading, reducing wear and tear and extending the life of assets. And by helping operators to maximise network utilisation, it can allow capital investments in additional capacity to be deferred or eliminated.

How Capula can help

With more than 40 years of experience in the design, operation and support of industrial automation systems, Capula is the right partner to support your organisation on its Industry 4.0 journey. For more information visit or contact:

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