More-reliable power with GOOSE-enabled ATS

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Boost data center power reliability and operational control and reduce cost with IEC 61850-enabled relays and GOOSE communication for your ATS devices.

As my title indicates, I work on some very large automation implementations, including a water treatment plant in Ohio, a large commercial airport in the Middle East, and a global network of oil & gas processing facilities. These kinds of large-scale projects always have surprises, both good and bad. When it comes to implementations of IEC 61850 GOOSE (Generic Object Oriented Substation Event) communications in automatic transfer schemes (ATS), the most consistent customer surprise has been their high level of satisfaction. They expected benefits from the new technology, but those benefits consistently exceed customer expectations.

Automated power systems

In data centers, where a power outage is catastrophic, managers are increasingly turning to automation technology like ATS to address power issues. Data centers often employ a main-tie-main switchgear/substation arrangement, with two power sources feeding the facility. Half the devices are powered by Source A and half by Source B, but both have the capacity to serve the entire facility. When there’s a problem with either source, the ATS rapidly, reliably, and automatically transfers to the other.

Pre-GOOSE, ATS relays were hard-wired between relays and from the relays to the facility’s operations center. Many engineers still prefer the known technology of hard-wired devices over the Ethernet connections enabled by IEC 61850. They are also hesitant to learn the new “language” of GOOSE.

There are some valid concerns related to GOOSE, including potential network issues and the threat of hacking. But physical wiring is not without its own risks. Broken wires and loose connections aren’t uncommon and can be time consuming to troubleshoot.

The net benefits of relying on network rather than hardwired ATS communications are encouraging more data center designers and operators to switch.

GOOSE benefits

Reduces engineering time: Integrating new, IEC 61850-compliant relays with your network is a relatively simple and speedy engineering task compared to a wired device.

Improves operations: The #1 customer-satisfaction point is that they can achieve any customized operation sequence. And since operators can remotely control, interrogate, and monitor power quality and related devices, they have a better picture of their facilities’ power status.

Eliminates data limits: Older relays have a physical limit on the number of I/O connections. IEC 61850-compliant relays have virtually no limit and provide constant relay communication.

Simplifies modifications: GOOSE-enabled systems are more flexible and easily updated. Changes are made via programming or software changes, avoiding the need for an outage that is typically required when making changes in a wired system typically require an outage.

Reduces costs: The savings include lower up-front costs to add devices to the network, reduced initial and ongoing engineering costs, and simplified operations and control.

Increased adoption

Adoption of automated ATS capabilities will continue to increase as comfort with IEC 61850-enabled devices grows. This comfort is accelerating as more new devices are IEC 61850-compliant and new engineers who are comfortable working the technology enter the field.

Veteran engineers are discovering that working with GOOSE isn’t really like learning a new language. It is more like an engineering tool that they will be comfortable working with. We regularly help customers with training so they can install and configure GOOSE communications themselves.

New, advanced microprocessor relays coupled with GOOSE are enabling reliable and fast data transmission that’s helping data centers create more reliable power sources while reducing operating costs.

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About the author

Vincent Duong

I am a Mega Project Account Development manager in the area of distribution protection and automation at ABB. I've spent most of my career in distribution and transmission protection and controls engineering, including system modeling, study, design, relay settings, and system disturbance analysis. I'm also actively involved in customer training and power system protection-coordination instruction.
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