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ICT-E

ICT of Electric distribution network

The future of power industry will require the development of two infrastructures: the existing power delivery infrastructure and the digital infrastructure consisting of data networks and information systems. Automated substation monitoring, diagnostics, and remote control systems provide many useful operating and reliability advantages. Their widespread use is, however, limited because of high costs of communication, making them economically infeasible.

This project focuses on the information and communication technology (ICT) needed to control the future energy systems.

The main objectives of the project are

  • wireless networks
  • distance monitoring and remote control
  • security and safety issues.

In the current electrical grid, the high cost of telecontrol equipment has had major impact in shaping the network topology. Telecontrol equipment has been economically viable only in network nodes connecting many distribution lines and having low operation voltage, i.e. transformer, available. The energy production paradigm is currently shifting from large scale centralized systems towards smaller scale distributed energy systems. This change of paradigm will have great impact on topology of the power-distribution network which in turn will require new control solutions. Present remote control devises need to be updated due to new requirements. Also the usability of present network will be able to improve with the new ICT solutions.

Automated substation monitoring, diagnostics, and remote control systems provide many useful operating and reliability advantages. Their widespread use is, however, limited because of high costs of communication, making them economically infeasible. The costs are mostly due to the present way of developing special devices for remote control and monitoring of the electrical network applications; the high production volumes of standard devices and communication networks have not been utilized. The application environment is harsh to wireless technology, because of the electromagnetic environment interfering with the radio communications. Another issue is the power source for the transmitters as they are typically located next to medium voltage components. Study is needed in appropriate wireless technology.

The purpose of this project is to tract the state of art in ICT technology in order to find the best solutions for telecontrol and remote monitoring applications of power distribution networks.

In wireless communications the main emphasis is on the radio resource management development. This includes the selection of the transmission rate and solving the routing problem. We also consider the security issues and how to connect the wireless sensor networks with the wired networks.

Distributed data fusion is an extremely important task in sensor networks, where the amount of data is huge. Data fusion algorithms require a lot of signaling between the nodes, and this limits the lifetime of nodes. To avoid unnecessary traffic in the network, it is worthy of studying clustered data fusion methods.

In addition to these, the ERHE project considers control aspects, i.e. how to design well performing controllers in systems where sensor networks gather the measurements. The problems faced here are related to the noisy and gapped measurements with asynchronic delays. Actuator networks that consist of numerous controlled devices acting on the process are also researched, and control algorithms for distributed MIMO systems are developed.

We cooperate internationally with UCLA, UC Berkeley and Yale University in the USA. In 2004-2005 our researchers spent altogether 24 man months in these units as visiting researchers. Our local research parties are University of Vaasa and TKK/Communications Laboratory. The research is financed by Tekes.

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Staff