Smart Utility Test Center

Outdoor test yard for evaluating interoperability of distribution automation technologies

New distribution automation and distribution optimization (DA/DO) technologies offer improved CAIDI and SAIFI, and reduced cost and duration of system outages. However, significant utility challenges remain, including system integration, accurate determination of fault location, system restoration efficiency, and the safe implementation of switching orders. The ability to validate and optimize DA/DO technology in a live environment significantly reduces risk and helps utilities maximize their investment in grid modernization.

BC Hydro and Powertech have developed the Smart Utility Test Center (SUTC), an outdoor, live 25-kV test yard for integration and interoperability of distributed automation technologies. The SUTC allows DA/DO technologies to be integrated with advanced DMS/ SCADA systems and field devices. A commercial DMS/SCADA is implemented in the SUTC, and the test yard distribution power system is fully modelled in the DMS.

Utilities can use the SUTC to demonstrate that distribution automation infrastructure can significantly reduce outage duration and extent and can reduce service restoration to a fraction of the time needed for systems without DA/DO.