DC Systems releases smart-grid platform update

Smart-grid software developer DC Systems has released a new version of its smart-grid platform aimed at increasing substation reliability and resilience while lowering the cost of deploying and managing so-called supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

DC Systems (Redwood City, CA, USA) says configuration and management of SCADA systems has so far been a time-consuming and costly process, putting pressure on budgets as the number of automated substations grows.

It argues that its new RT 6.0 platform is the first product designed to address the challenge of scaling up SCADA systems.

Energy provider PG&E (San Francisco, CA, USA) already appears to be using RT 6.0 to centralize management and SCADA updates across its various substations.

“This latest release from DC Systems will help us to implement a strategy that both strengthens the resiliency of our substation controls and facilitates better, more cost-effective practices for maintaining our SCADA software,” said Randy Smith, SCADA Manager at PG&E.

According to DC Systems, the RT 6.0 platform includes a variety of efficiency-enhancing features, including centralized operational management and IT management functions and a distributed intelligence system that allows each substation to operate independently with its own “human-machine interface” for safety or reliability reasons.

Another pilot customer is electricity provider SCE (Rosemead, CA, USA), which says it is using the RT 6.0 as part of the Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration Project to demonstrate a new substation automation system designed around the IEC-61850 standard.

“This new automation system will help us to implement a strategy that greatly reduces the cost and time of configuring substation SCADA systems, and allow interoperability so that we are not locked-in with any proprietary system or vendor,” said Bryan Pham, the manager of automation and communications advanced technology at SCE. “The new system will be tested for two years and when proven successful we plan to standardize going forward.”