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This project ended in Mar 2013 and is now closed.Dismiss

NGC Interconnection

DurationDec 2011 - Mar 2013
  • South West
  • South Wales

Project description

The background to this project is relatively simple but the potential ramifications of what it set out to achieve are industry changing. Due to the increasing volume of distributed generation, it is becoming increasingly important for National Grid (NGC) to gain visibility of the real-time output of generation connections on distribution networks. This is currently not possible to achieve as there is no end to end visibility of the network to NGC.

The benefits of having that visibility could be potentially quite significant when it comes to operational efficiency and system balancing. Therefore in discussion with NGC it was decided that it was worth undertaking a feasibility study or proof of concept to establish with cross-network visibility could be achieved without increasing any security threat. 

This project, in collaboration with GE, has sought to create a link between the control systems of NGC and WPD, using the Inter-Control Centre Communications Protocol (ICCP). Establishment of the link has been successful with data being transferred between the systems in real time in a secure manner. An initial assessment of the cyber security risks has identified a potential risk with establishing multiple links through ICCP to NGC. Further assessment of these risks will be assessed and learning shared through the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Project outcomes

The trial was a success, with data from the WPD PowerOn system being visible with the XA/21 control system at NGC. It is therefore envisaged that in the future that the link could be used to allow further real-time data to be collated and transferred, potentially from multiple sources from a DNO to TSO for data sharing purposes once security issues are fully determined.

For WPD to make this live, additional configuration would be required within PowerOn to transfer the aggregation and trace process from a test function to a live application. Additional configuration works would also be required to create the aggregation points, allowing the process to collate data prior to transfer through the ICCP link. 

For NGC to take this forward with additional links, further configuration works would be required on a specific case by case basis. This would include the development of a separate Front End Processer (FEP) for each link to ensure security can be maintained. 

At initiation of this trial, the ICCP link functionality was at TRL 7. As further work is required to assess the use of the link with multiple connections, it is considered that the TRL is unchanged. It is though extremely encouraging that we were able to make this concept work and we believe that it would be a useful piece of information in the continuing debate on DNO/DSO.