Assessment of Impact of Substation Data Communication Networks on Protection and Control Functionality and Performance

  • Luoyun Xu

Student thesis: Phd


Power substations are enablers for the electricity network power flow to be controlled and directed safely and securely from generation to demand. To support the UK government target of net zero-carbon emissions by 2050, a step change in how apply digital technologies into substations would be essential to increase the lifetime, efficiency and utilisation of electricity energy infrastructure as well as the flexibility and controllability for increasing integration of renewable generation and low carbon technologies. Interoperability is a key driver for the adoption of the IEC 61850 data communication standards for a full digital substation. Achieving full interoperability between different vendor’s substation secondary systems, i.e. Protection, Automation and Control (PAC), will allow utilities to confidently deploy new digital technologies as well as effectively manage Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) with plug in and play technologies for easier maintenance, quicker upgrade and replacement activities. Driven by the interoperability, power utilities around world have already interested in developing IEC61850 digital technologies for full digital substations implementations which have been considered low cost and relatively quick to implement (compared to build a new traditional substation). In the UK, both National Grid (NG) and Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) have started to invest digital substation technologies. NG Architecture of Substation Secondary Systems (AS3) project had conducted four piggy-back trials (ABB, Alstom, NR Electric and Siemens) which demonstrated and proved the concept and benefits of using IEC61850-9-2 process bus technologies. SPEN’s Future Intelligent Transmission NEtwork SubStation (FITNESS) project has implemented the first real life digital substation with a mixed data network redundancy technologies, such as HSR and PRP. However it would be very different to access the suitability for the designed digital substation architectures to be tested under abnormal data network conditions in real life. This led the motivation of this project. The main contributions of this thesis are: (i) Assessment of data communication network performance and quantifying the equipment hosting capability for both IEC61850 based process bus and station bus though typical network substation modelling and simulation studies, (ii) Assessment and comparison of different data flow control methods to determine their suitability of minimising the impact of abnormal data network conditions (such as storming and avalanche data) on the time critical data exchange messages, (iii) Assessment of the impact of different data redundancy networks on the message exchange performance in term of message time delay and data exchange bandwidth utilisation, and (iv) Finally, a laboratory experimental testing bed was set up for assessing the impact of two redundancy networks HSR and PRP on a typical protection and control scheme (Main 1 and Main 2 and backup) functionality, respectively. The experimental results are statically quantified, compared and discussed. These findings have been reported to support the UK transmission utilities in preparing to roll out full digital substations in the UK.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHaiyu Li (Supervisor) & Peter Crossley (Supervisor)


  • HSR
  • PRP
  • Data Flow
  • Substation Automation System
  • IEC 61850

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