DCS (Distribute Control System) solutions merge all communication capabilities of IEDs in a substation or across a network to perform a physically distributed logically integration protection, control, metering, monitoring and automation scheme. DCS solutions are tailored to eliminate much of the dedicated control wiring along with the special purpose communication channels. The data gathered by this system does not only consist of the data for control operation or in other words SCADA data, but also “non operational” data used in the future to operate the power system in innovative ways.
This new abundance of data can then be fed into an asset management program to monitor equipment and facilitate better maintenance decisions. DCS Solutions can use traditional legacy, IEC 61850, or a mix set of protocols to utilize the existing assets of the electrical network.
IEC 61850, it represents a major shift in how intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) communicate within the substation and beyond. Essentially, IEC 61850 replaces the physical copper wires linking IEDs together with virtual ones by way of an Ethernet network.
The transition to IEC 61850 is by no means a slam dunk. It represent a major shift in utility management and practice, and it requires a whole new set of skill on the part of the engineering professionals charged with making it work.