Powertech Labs has launched a new outdoor electrical test yard, called the Smart Utility Test Center (SUTC), for testing and validating distribution automation and smart grid technologies. The Center is located on the grounds of the Powertech facilities in Surrey, British Columbia.
The SUTC represents a fully energized, dedicated medium-voltage model of a modern distribution system with state-of-the-art and legacy grid and monitoring capabilities, including variable and interchangeable loads, sources, protection, communications, and analytics.
In combination with Powertech’s indoor Smart Energy Lab, the new SUTC enables utilities and utility vendors to develop, test, and demonstrate emerging technologies and devices in one location within a safe and controlled test environment and under real grid operating conditions before deployment into the field, thus reducing the risks of technology development.
The scale of the outdoor test yard allows developers to assess and solve technical, practical, operational, and interoperability issues that are often difficult to assess in the lab or too risky to test in the field.
The capabilities of the SUTC are being built incrementally. Currently the Center has capabilities for testing end-to-end distribution automation and control for Fault Location, Isolation, and Service Restoration (FLISR). Future capabilities will include testing of distributed generation components, renewable integration, microgrid control systems, digital substation and advanced protection communications, smart meter infrastructure integration, and telecommunications interoperability of critical infrastructure equipment.
The SUTC is designed to be an integrated test lab facility for simulation of the current and future utility distribution environments, including telecom and network infrastructure, management and operating systems, relays, and physical devices. The SUTC will allow for interoperability, integrated, and non-integrated system performance testing for future devices, management systems, telecom, and data network options to support future grid applications. It also provides a simulated utility environment for standards development, operating order development, and crew familiarization prior to field deployment.
The fully functional distribution system at the SUTC site incorporates reclosers, sectionalizers, breakers, sensors, and a full range of automated switchgear and the communications technologies to support it.