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Control Centers’ Upgrade in Central America:
A strategic planning process approach
Facultad de Electrotecnia y Computación Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Nicaragua. Phone: + 505 2 672054, Fax: + 505 2 673709, E-mail: [email protected] Abstract
Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá). The experiences on the energy trading are until now coming The current trend of openness and modularity on the Power from bilateral and different agreements and procedures Network Control Systems are conceived originally, mainly if not totally, for expanding the life cycle of the modern and coming generations of Control Centers. But there are a Moreover, three of the six Central American Countries are in considerable amount of existing "old" Control Centers in a very advance phase for a complete renovation and Utilities with lack of experience in the exploitation and with technological modernization of their current Control Centers. economical limitations for replace them for new ones at one Some of them have set the financial source for the budget and shot. In some cases, even with available budget for Control already assigned the procurement of the new Control Center. Center’s modernization there is a lack of systematic There have been some surveys about the foreseeable recollection of the experiences on the technical evolution of technical requirements for supporting this Regional Electrical the current one and about the new and demanded needs. This Interconnection and for the recommendations on the paper is recommending and sustaining a strategy for a modernization of the Control Centers by each Country's planing process for the fulfillment of the new requirements or Utility and at the Regional level by PARSEICA and other functionality to the Control Centers in Central America. It is International Consultants. Most of these studies are focusing intended to keep in mind the understanding of the real needs on the technical implementations tuned on the “the state of and combining the technological solution with the the art” trends on open SCADA/EMS Systems, more than evolutionary standards and the state of the art of openness focusing on evaluation on the current operational status, and EMS in the modernization of the SCADA/AGC Control experiences or based in clear Utilities expansion plans or Centers [1]. This paper is based in a characterization study of the Control Center in Central America, presenting some remarks about the partial results of such study. It is presented This opportunity and dynamic situation was inducing the some complementary perspectives of the challenges to be study: Characterization of the Power Control Centers in Central America at the Generation and Transmission level. It is also the practical base of the proposed Strategic Planning Key Words: Case Studies on Central American Control
Process Approach for technological migration at the Control Centers, Control Centers operation experience, Strategic Upgrade Planning Process, Control Center Migration. 1. Introduction
In the Central America region, there is a plan of a complete Regional Electrical Interconnection which is going to demand a closer interchange of information, more operational coordination, reliable communications, interconnected network analysis, new functionality, and a 1 Programa de Actividades Regionales en el Subsector Regional structure of the Electrical Interconnection amongst the Control Centers of the six countries (Guatemala, (Programme for Regional Activities in the Electrical Sub-sector in Central America) defined, and not trying as close as possible the fulfillment of 2. Context: Remarks on the
Characterization of the Power Control
In opinion of the people with more maturity on the Centers in Central America
exploitation at the Control Centers, now is more likely that the consultants must play a role on suggestions on the The Characterization of the Power Control Centers in Central functional specification proposed from the local team; on the America is an ongoing study oriented to analyze as Study estimation of the cost, extent and time of the required change Cases the operation’s experiences and problems faced from or project; on the validation on the project award procedure the Control Centers in the region, and to present some and during the checking of the functionality specified for the recommendations for conceptual and common strategy to face the upgrade and modernization trends of such Control Centers of obvious close context, constraints, opportunities It is notorious that the design of the communication system was pointed out as the weakest and rapidly obsolescent part of the system. We find many examples of recent Control So far the Study Cases analyzed are addressing that there are Center’s installation and just few month after, it was a very heterogeneous levels of maturity on the exploitation, confronting an expansion on the network or data acquisition operation strategies, resource capabilities, and experiences at points that saturate the communication channels capacity. the Control Centers. Some of them are already in operation One reason for such “early saturation” was the lack of since 13 years and others just since 2 years. information and follow up of the long, short and medium term plan of expansion. A practical explanation is the fact We found that there are three types of Control Centers that the so called medium and long term plans are in function structures, one with the commonly known “proprietary of the frequent changes of the National financial support, integral packet” of SCADA/AGC system, other one with a Database Server with remote acquisition data configured in personal computers (PCs) and the last one based on a It is naturally accepted that in a Control Center the old or SCADA/AGC system based on a network of PCs in new functional definitions, new information requirements, distributed configuration for the software tasks. The last two new data base acquisition requirements, new communication ones were conceived for self design software and not time performance, additional alarm processing, new proprietary software-hardware relation [2]. application software, etc., are defined from a merely technical or specification perspective, underestimating the Guatemala doesn’t have still a Digital Control Center, it is organizational impact and the potential considerations as a still working with analogue telecommands and telemetry. It systems of collaborative and interrelated “parts”, already seems as a special Study Case in order to see how a leap to a doing technical tasks and sub-tasks at the Center [3]. new and modern SCADA/EMS Control Center will impose It has to be added that most of the Control Centers have an unclear or limited interaction between the various offices However, all the structures are attached, in a way or other, to surrounding them at the Utility. In opinion of some particular communication protocols, database structures, etc. Heads/Directors of Control Centers, the Center has to take It should be mentioned that in the PCs based Control the leading place by showing the nature of its valuable and Centers, the major problems come from the technical reliable information to the rest of the Utilities’ offices. difficulties of implantation of commercial software and from the high cost of self development software. The hardware is It has been notice a common unsatisfactory remarks from the more flexible and rather cheap to change from time to time, it operators and supporting staff members of the Control Center was included in the contract for these systems the about some “unfriendly” application software which are implementation of the interface with the remote terminal demanding a big amount of data, which has to be entered by units (RTU) in use from the different vendors. hand. As an example there is a widely distributed software amongst the Control Centers for Short, Medium and Long In all the original Control Centers the international Term Forecasting Demand with modes of operation in consultants were playing a key role as technical counselors, different hydrological assumption and combustible cost, this in those days, seventies, the concept of modern digital software is not in use and instead of it LOTUS or EXCEL is Control Center technology was considered new and just used with an average accuracy no less than 96% in the setting the roots. This helped to have some vision over some results. Here, a good example of the “end user” importance vendors that were proposing and trying to convince about and influence, when it is not taken in account at the their solution or interpretation to the functional specification


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