Back
Efficient and Effective icon
Efficient and Effective

Unified Protection

UK Power Networks will trial a new substation centralised protection and control system. We will verify & validate the use of this system for the protection and control of future substations. Instead of having local protection relays on each substation bay, a central system will be used within a substation. This system can be modified and upgraded via software and does not require new plant for the introduction of new functions or bays within limits.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/04/2019
End date: 31/03/2021
Budget: £480,693

The network is becoming increasingly complex and there is not enough certainty of what functions may be required or even available in the future for protection and control (P&C) to meet these changing network topologies.

Being a DNO we are often required to extend busbars and modify protection schemes for new connections and load growth projects.

Current Relay replacement programs miss opportunities for the implementation of advance protection and control functions, due to the trend of implementing a like for like replacement strategy. When replacement programs are undertaken, existing equipment is replaced with similar relays to avoid additional work for hardware modification associated with functionality enhancement. There are also multiple IEDs (intelligent electronic devices) being installed on the network such as Protection relays, RTU’s (Remote Terminal Units), Power Quality meters, Disturbance recorders which means multiple  tools from multiple vendors need to be maintained by the field staff, creating a large training and familiarisation burden for the business.

This project seeks to trial a new substation centralised protection and control system. The project method will verify & validate the use of this system for the protection and control of future substations.

Instead of having local protection relays on each substation bay, a central system will be used within a substation. This system can be modified and upgraded via software and does not require new plant for the introduction of new functions or bays within limits.

For the purpose of the trial demonstration, the system will be installed in parallel to the existing protection and control scheme. It will receive measurements but the trip signals will not be connected to the switchgear. There will be monthly visits to the substation to retrieve data, analyse and compare with existing protection performance by the experts from the technical standards team.

In order for the trial to be successful the new method must perform equal or better than the current protection schemes. The financial results from installation and commissioning will also provide useful information for the financial case for the device adoption.

Additionally, modern standard designs for according to IEC61850 standard will be produced in order to take the learning from the project and go to a wider supplier procurement event.

This is the first trial of such a device in GB and possibly the world. UKPN is the first company to use the device from one supplier and primary driver for the development of the second supplier’s device.

The concept for centralised protection and control is not new, however, only in the recent years, the hardware has grown enough to provide the required computational power. Moreover, the international community has developed standards (IEC61850) that define the structure and sharing of information within a substation, allowing utility companies to use devices from multiple vendors.

This project is unique in bringing the two concepts together.

  • We will learn how to design and use the centralise protection and control solution
  • We will learn if the solution is fit for purpose for us from a performance and functional point of view
  • We will verify the flexibility and upgradability of the solution
  • We will compare the financial cost with our conventional standard practice
  • We will create a backbone of knowledge on IEC61850 that we can use in the future
  • We will learn how to test and commission an IEC61850 based substation

About Innovations

Find out more

How projects are funded

Find out more