Enhanced Data Management And Cyber Awareness Underpins Georgia System Operator’s Smart Grid Upgrade

Data management and control center improvements have enabled Georgia System Operations Corporation to modernize its bulk power operations.
Published: Mon 18 Aug 2014

Enhanced data management and new protective measures to enhance cyber and system security are at the heart of Georgia System Operations Corporation’s (GSOC) project to modernize bulk power management and control center operations for its 38 member electric membership corporations (EMCs) in Georgia.

Smart Grid Investment Grant support

The US$12.9 million project was supported with a US$6.4 million Smart Grid Investment Grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Key project objectives included deploying infrastructure improvements that more effectively communicate information about disruptions or shifts in power flows and enable operators and engineers to make better decisions to maintain grid reliability and security; improving the economics of power purchases and scheduling of transactions by member cooperatives; and addressing cybersecurity threats.

The project comprised:

● Addition of a dual-path fiber optic network for enhanced communications.

● Development of new models and data management tools for outage management and cybersecurity, including centralized database editing and data historian functions within the Energy Control System and upgrading of scheduling hardware and software and production cost databases.

● Implementation of a new integrated transmission network model for enhanced state estimation and dispatcher training.

Key project results

1. New control center capabilities

i. Faster and easier to operate energy control systems.

ii. Redundant fiber links between the primary and backup operations control centers boost reliability and effectiveness.

iii. Enhanced situational awareness via color coding of alarms and new alarm priorities for major, minor, and miscellaneous alarm groups.

2. Enhanced data management

iv. Faster access to real-time data by GSOC and member cooperatives via web-enabled interfaces to assist with energy scheduling and operational planning.

v. Enhanced reliability by eliminating manual processes for updating critical Energy Management System operational databases.

3. New measures to enhance cyber and system security

vi. Strengthened systems for both detecting and responding to any malicious cyber activities that could potentially threaten the bulk electric system.

vii. New tools (e.g. Industrial Defender and Network Intrusion Detection) to reduce risks of cyber-attacks and unauthorized access to servers, workstations, physical security devices, and network equipment.

Scaling up for future smart grid requirements

With these upgrades, GSOC is positioned to scale-up and address future smart grid requirements, including advancements in software, hardware, and big data analytics.

In the near-term, GSOC expects to work with member cooperatives to inform them of the benefits of more effective utilization of the new data being provided. Over the longer-term, GSOC plans to continue implementation of energy management system and control room enhancements, and move ahead with further education and training programs for grid operators and engineers.

Further reading

US Department of Energy: Control Center and Data Management Improvements Modernize Bulk Power Operations in Georgia[pdf]