Spectrum Power: Smarter distribution grid management

Published: Tue 17 Dec 2013
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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There's more to a smart grid than smart meters. Power grids are affected by many new influences (such as renewables), as well as opportunities for optimization (such as smart meters). Juggling these complexities can make grid management a daunting challenge. A new offering from Siemens, Spectrum Power ADMS (advanced distribution management system), can help utilities monitor and manage their distribution networks better than ever before.

At the recent European Utility Week conference, Siemens offered a live demonstration of Spectrum Power workflows. This system manages several key processes through a single user interface: SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), outage management, fault and network analysis and more.

Gerd Pollhammer, CEO of Siemens Control Center Solutions, explained this offering. "Everything about managing the grid must be integrated into a utility's IT. Spectrum Power integrates with all existing technology needed to make it possible to quickly restore power and proactively address other issues in a complex environment."

Spectrum Power simplifies all work processes and makes it easier to enter and update grid-related data. It also helps network operators control and monitor their distribution network more reliably, as well as handle maintenance and repairs more efficiently. And it intelligently uses smart meter data to detect and clear faults, and to monitor and control distributed generation.

Spectrum Power's service-oriented architecture (SOA) connects well with the services and data of other utility IT systems -- such as cards and network data for geoinformation systems, or load profiles from meter data management systems. Conversely, these IT systems can leverage Spectrum Power to access services and data from the distribution network -- such as customer downtimes, work orders, or the status of field service calls. Spectrum Power also can automate and optimize business and work processes related to the grid.

Along with Spectrum Power ADMS, Siemens also offers a Spectrum Power distribution network applications (DNA) system: a self-contained calculation engine with defined interfaces for Siemens SCADA system products or the SCADA/outage management systems of Siemens partners. This includes applications that run on Spectrum Power to support modeling, calculation and optimization, and more -- and returns the results to grid operators.

For the last few years, Oncor (a major U.S. transmission and distribution utility) has been using the technologies now bundled in Spectrum Power ADMS. Previously, Oncor grid operators routinely had to monitor data on three computer screens from many as 10 applications simultaneously -- while also communicating with field teams by radio. This profusion of displays, systems and communications now has been replaced with a single user interface.

"The next revolution in smart energy is a big step in secondary distribution automation, to avoid interruption in electricity supply," said Pollhammer. "Outages should be only occasional, not regular. Better grid management can help."

Read more at: Smart Grid Watch