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Smart Substation: Intelligent feeder management


Improving network reliability and reducing outages

Capgemini’s E&U IndustryHub, in collaboration with Intel, has developed a smart substation solution that provides intelligent feeder management using IoT, AI/ML, and GIS, integrated with ERP and SCADA systems. The solution helps identify and localize potential faults in the network while enabling proactive maintenance, hence improving substation performance, increasing life of the downstream assets, and bolstering customer satisfaction due to reduction in power outages. The solution will help distribution network operators (DNOs) monitor feeder imbalances and power quality proactively when the grid is constrained either due to supply uncertainties or demand variabilities.

The DNOs are also challenged by energy regulators, who have benchmarked acceptable PQ levels as specified by IEEE 519 and EN 50160 standards defining permissible limits for total harmonic distortion (THD) and voltage quality indices. Our solution fulfills the need of the DNOs to meet their regulatory compliance, network stability, and sustainability objectives.

Identification and localization of network fault in LV distribution system can be extremely resource-intensive and time-consuming

Power quality disturbances are extremely harmful to the low voltage (LV) distribution system as they gradually deteriorate network efficiency and asset performance. Thanks to energy transition and electric systems decarbonization, energy generation is gradually moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy (RE) sources. But this comes with its own set of challenges; the process of harnessing electricity from intermittent sources and connecting it to the grid (below 66KV level) creates power quality issues such as electrical transients/surges, voltage fluctuations, reactive power, and harmonic distortions.

Grid imbalances need to be constantly monitored and controlled. When demand exceeds supply, it leads to overloading and heating of the conductors and distribution transformers (DTs), in addition to reducing the capacity of the network and causing technical losses. When generation exceeds demand, there is a temporary surge or voltage spike which, if uncontrolled, adversely impacts the substation feeders and DTs, with a cascading impact on the substation network and assets, resulting in their gradual deterioration and increased cost of maintenance.

The common practice to power quality (PQ) monitoring is an offline method using PQ analyzers or fault disturbance recorders. The results measured and logged by PQ analyzers/recorders are time-stamped and analyzed to detect network vulnerabilities or possible causes of faults in the network over time. There are neither enough instruments nor maintenance staff to carry out the tasks simultaneously on multiple feeders. This is a time-consuming and cumbersome exercise. Though this approach can correctly diagnose faults in the network, it is rarely successful in forewarning and preventing network fault.

Capgemini has developed a smart solution for the efficient monitoring and management of substation feeders, leveraging the power of IoT, AI/ML, and GIS, and integration with ERP and SCADA

Capgemini has developed a solution that uses power quality sensors, clamped on each phase of the LV substation feeder, or on the LV side of the distribution transformer (DT). These sensors are high-gain sensors capable of measuring even small variations in the electrical signal which are picked up and processed by the master control unit (MCU) or IoT gateway at the edge, with time stamping. The MCU or IoT gateway transmits the network data of electrical transients and harmonics to the cloud storage and computation capability.

The sensor data from cloud and related remote computation capability, substation meter data of each phase of feeder, and meter data of all the DTs connected to that feeder are fed to the AI/ ML software. The meter data provides the time-stamped load profile, which is used in the analysis together with the time-stamped transient data captured by the sensors.

The data is then analyzed by AI/ ML software, using neural network algorithms deployed for training the models of various network states and health characteristics. The results and recommendations are displayed graphically on KPI monitoring and visualization dashboard. It identifies and localizes potential future causes of failures, which enables the utilities to prioritize proactive maintenance, as per the vulnerabilities predicted.

The KPI dashboard is integrated with Utility GIS, ERP, and SCADA.

The solution helps in the proactive maintenance of the LV network assets, which improves operations efficiency, increases the life of assets, reduces cost of maintenance, and enhances customer satisfaction

Capgemini’s intelligent feeder management solution has many benefits. First, it improves the substation feeder, DT, and overall LV network performance and increases the life of LV network assets by preventing breakdowns based on AI-based predictions. This in turn increases customer satisfaction, due to uninterrupted and quality supply of power.

Second, better control over network parameters leads to reduction of technical losses in the feeder and downstream LV network and improvement in power quality and reliability of supply, thus meeting and exceeding regulatory standards of performance. It also minimizes risks in substation feeder operations, and hence improves the safety of utility assets and personnel. Further, this improvement in efficiency leads to reduction in maintenance costs and increases profitability for DNOs.

The solution combines Capgemini’s extensive E&U domain expertise along with Engineering, Integration, Insights & Data and AI/ ML capabilities supported by Intel’s best-in-class technology to help enable the multidirectional flow needed to seamlessly manage supply and demand across the grid, including large and small loads and a variety of generation sources.

The Smart Substation with Edge-of-the-Grid Automation is fully integrated with the Intel platform and can be operated through engineering, research & development services. System upgrades and maintenance are also supported as a service, improving flexibility and scalability while enabling valuable operational efficiencies and cost savings throughout the business.

To learn more about this solution or see it live in action, contact:

Bragadesh Damodaran

Sr.Director, E&U Industry Hub

Jayant Sinha

Energy & Utilities SME, E&U Industry Hub

Aniket Mahato

GTM Lead, E&U Industry Hub