The Efficacy and Challenges of SCADA and Smart Grid Integration

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The Efficacy and Challenges of SCADA and Smart Grid Integration

The onset and expansion of the smart grid technology to enhance electric power infrastructure has brought in numerous opportunities to improve effectiveness. Ho

The onset and expansion of the smart grid technology to enhance electric power infrastructure has brought in numerous opportunities to improve effectiveness. However, with that, it has also brought some significant challenges in the field of safety, security and reliability for consumers and utility suppliers alike.

Let us understand the scenario in brief detail to get a better grasp on this issue.

The efficiency of SCADA and Smart Grid Integration

With the integration of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA), utility suppliers can now opt for remote monitoring and control to derive higher reliability and efficiency for the utility as a unit. Power distribution is now marked by decentralisation of data, distributed storage, increased communication, system automation and optimisation.

SCADA systems are amalgamated into a smart grid through electrical and data networks. This facilitates the consumer to monitor their consumption behaviour and control the related costs. This new approach also allows the grid to respond immediately to outages, quality issues, and other system issues. If the system is optimally configured, it can also endure physical and cyber attacks. It also helps in reducing maintenance and operational costs.

SCADA and Smart Grid integration- The Downside

The increased integration of SCADA and smart grid brings serious security concerns into the picture. This is because a large part of the operations heavily relies on the use of the internet. This dependency leads to an increased risk of a terrorist attack on cybersecurity. Moreover, changing protocols, LAN/WAN framework, encryptions, information applications on public networks also raises another set of equally serious security issues.

The integration of SCADA and smart grid has also resulted in increased complexities. These systems offer benefits like time criticality, tolerant to faults, intelligent, heterogeneous. However, they come with some set of loopholes. Despite these challenges, the response has not been adequate. Areas like critical path protection, safety policies, knowledge management, and system development skills that position security architecture on the priority need immediate attention.

Energy is an exclusive resource and maintaining protection against theft, misuse, and harmful activities in a smart grid is of utmost concern. The problems of guaranteeing cybersecurity in a smart grid are manifold due to the range of the components and the unique situations where smart grids are installed. Putting up a smart grid solutions that lacks robust security measures can bring in latest cyberattacks that have the potential to remain undetected, which can ultimately jeopardize the entire system.

Global giants like Schneider Electric are working on updated SCADA models that are professional-grade and come with all the latest security measures. They also offer smart metering solutions, PLC, PAC and other dedicated controllers that eases industrial communication and management to a great extent. Schneider products are high-quality, affordable, and they come with excellent after-sales support as well.