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Developing a Local Grid Substations’ Automation SCADA System

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Original Authors: Ashot Minasyan, Bitlis-MEN LLC

Edited by Cyth Systems

Grid Substations’ Automation Diagram
Grid Substations’ Automation Diagram

The Challenge

Developing a system that provides full visibility and management of the power distribution grid at the Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanbu and enhances the quality of service of the daily grid operations and maintenance tasks, reduces downtime by providing smart dispatch alerts, and provides statistical and historical data to help with evaluating operational performance and technology strategic planning.

The Solution

To meet the customer’s requirements we created the local grid automation SCADA system for medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) substations’ centralized management with switchgear; transformers; backup diesel generators; battery chargers; automatic transfer switches (ATSs); isolators and other apparatus monitoring, control, and protection functionality; a power quality and events detection system with power analysis functionality; and multilayer active electrical single-line diagram (SLD) integration with multi privilege user monitoring and control.

Bitlis-MEN LLC offers safe and simple engineering solutions for automating customer systems. We can provide customers with ease of operation, and they can see and manage their businesses anytime and anywhere—from home, office, or even while traveling. Our experience, competence, and the innovations and advanced technologies we use help us meet the needs of our clients worldwide We can also provide partial automation of the system, namely the automation of the assemblies and units.

Left: NI CompactRIO's integrated into the control panel. Right: Software Architecture Diagram


Our Substation Automation System is an advanced power quality monitoring and events detection system. We combined it with remote monitoring and electrical network apparatus control, operating under a single, integrated application software and a state-of-art field data acquisition hardware capable of implementing both functions internally from a single box. The system is centralized and provides remote web monitoring with clients.

The SCADA system for substation monitoring and power quality analysis is Windows-based and monitors seven RTUs (Remote Terminal Units) (366 physical I/O, 511 calculated I/O). The system includes the following power analysis: basic parameters, THD (Total Harmonic Distortion), harmonic analysis up to 64th order, harmonics per cycle, harmonics per second, voltage events, voltage unbalance, load impedance, flicker, vector diagram, waveform streaming, and more. The system monitors and controls the Royal Commission’s MV and LV substations. The equipment list includes MV, LV switchgear, isolators, and transformers. The system also includes historical trends, alarm and event handling, email notification, and more. We used the DNP3.0 for communication.

Our system provides real-time power grid monitoring and control. It displays the Royal Commission’s single-line diagram of the power distribution substations and their apparatus (transformers, isolators, switchgear, generators, ATS, battery chargers, and more) and gives the operator the ability to view the variable values in real-time, on user-friendly and ergonomic human-machine interface (HMI) screens, and on multiple displays.

The system features two operator workstations, which allow multiple operators to access the information at the same time. They incorporate the HMI, system configuration, and report generation with different user access and authority levels.

A main operator workstation includes two 42-inch. screens, which can display different views with the full information required for monitoring and control. It is password-protected and may grant operator- or supervisor-level access.

The HMI displays an overview of the Royal Commission electrical distribution network system. A single-line diagram is available for the complete subsystem and displays the status for various equipment and selected parameter values. Additionally, the following alarms and event lists are displayed:

  • Control function, in the form of closing or opening switchgear

  • An audio/visual alarm warning after detecting any malfunction, or fault, or when the parameters exceed critical limits

  • All activities, including the operating switchgear, statuses, warnings, fault alarms, and more logged (with date, time, and location) with millisecond time resolution

  • Servers run Windows 7 with all supported programs and supervisory software

The system contains seven sites (five RTUs and two subRTUs). For the system expansion, there must be 81 sites.

Software Specifications

  • Specialized software offers an opportunity to control and monitor the SCADA and configure settings:

  • Switch breaker control (open/close)

  • Switch breaker connectivity status (disconnected/connected)

  • Switch breaker rack in/out status

  • Live monitoring and historical trending of all alarms and events

  • RTU health status

  • Power parameters

  • Basic analysis (voltage RMS, current RMS, frequency)

  • Power analysis (active/reactive/apparent powers, power factor, vector diagram for voltage and current)

  • Local settings (per RTU/site)

  • Data scaling

  • Data dead banding

  • Alarm handling

  • Analog signals

  • Digital signals

  • Global settings

  • Watchdog listening rate

  • User settings


Combining the benefits of the CompactRIO FPGAs and processor we developed a rugged, permanent monitoring and control system that performs real-time analysis and control of a local power grid from a centralized location. We successfully installed our substation automation system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Original Authors:

Ashot Minasyan, Bitlis-MEN LLC

Edited by Cyth Systems

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