Rural India might not come to mind when you imagine a modern Smart Grid of Ethernet-based substations. However, that is just what was installed in 2015 in the Northern Indian province of Haryana.

Increasing demand for power from both urban and rural customers led the local utility company to extend the electric power system, adding five new substations. At the same time a new Substation Automation System, that is, a new LAN (Local Area Network) design for communication between devices, was implemented for all substations.

The utility partnered with a local systems integrator, Venson Electric (Venson), who provided a new substation control and protection system, including the communications network.

Let’s examine how Venson created a reliable network to relay critical information in a rugged environment with high traffic loads.

Haryana-India-Adds-5-IEC-61850-SubstationsHaryana province in Northern India has the largest investment per capita of any province in India.  Its growing economy has led to increased power requirements.Images courtesy of Google Maps and DLF Ltd.

Haryana Substation Design Requirements

India has experienced consistent economic growth over the last decade, with 2015-16 growth GDP forecast at 7.5%. In Haryana, this translated into increasing demand for domestic and industrial electricity across a 25,000 kilometer region.

Project details include:

  • The Substation Automation System (SAS) was designed to protect, monitor and control the switch gear operations for 66kV incoming lines, 66/33kV step down transformers and 33kV outgoing lines.
  • Data comes in from 30 protection relays mounted on the control and relay panels. The communication between the relays is done via an Ethernet -based network using protocols compliant with the IEC 61850 standard.
  • The relay panels are located in outdoor shelters in remote locations.

Unique requirements for the substation communication equipment were:

  • The ability to withstand extreme heat and humidity as well as high altitude
  • Low maintenance demands to support remote substation locations
  • IEC 61850 compliance for interoperability with protection and control equipment
  • High performance for handling large – and growing – data volumes
  • Ease of remote management
  • Rack-mountable form factor
  • Power supply redundancy

Download the white paper "The Case for Specifying Industrial Ethernet Cable for Harsh Environments"Ruggedized, High Performance Industrial Ethernet Switches

Belden provided two key components of the final solution.

The first is Gigabit rack-mounted switches that have been specifically designed for power generation and distribution applications. These switches meet the Haryana project requirements including Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, very high environmental tolerances and long, maintenance- free life cycles.

The switches integrate directly into the IEC 61850 SCADA software in the same way as other substation IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices) using the MMS (Manufacturing Messaging Specification) protocol.

The second component is embedded Ethernet switches. These switches provide an easy way to add network connectivity into field devices. Using tested high quality switching components also reduces risk and development costs and speeds up the project.

In this case, Hirschmann embedded switches were built into SCADA gateways from iGrid. The gateways send metering, status change, event and fault data from the substations to a Control center. They also transfer commands back to the substation, thereby providing two-way “Smart Grid” communications.


Hirschmann Gigabit rack-mounted switches and embedded Ethernet switches are the key communications equipment for the Haryana substation project.
Substation image courtesy of Indiamart.

IEC 61850 Substation Communication Design

Many utility companies with large numbers of legacy substations will regard this Haryana project with a bit of envy. Venson was able to create and implement a two-way communication network based on Ethernet technology and conforming to IEC 61860 standards across rural India. The design future-proofs the network to meet evolving needs.

This is a real-life example of the Smart Grid vision, allowing monitoring, control, and quick rerouting of power transmission as required. Also, the use of modern switch equipment with its built-in security and redundancy capabilities makes the installation instantly safer and more reliable than is the case with older substations.

For a complete write-up of this project, download the Haryana, India Substation Automation Case Study.

What substation communication challenges are you facing? I look forward to hearing from you. 

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Belden Products Used in the Haryana, India Substation Automation Project