Foreign SCADA and EMS markets show great promise

SCADA systems are being installed and upgraded in developing countries. EMSs are also being expanded in the larger industrialized countries using the latest technological advancements

By Wayne Beaty

Power Delivery Editor

Power delivery systems are becoming more sophisticated and efficient thanks to new technologies being implemented on a worldwide basis. Two of these technologies that are having a great impact are supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and energy management systems (EMS).

EMS provides system dispatchers and controllers an efficient way to monitor and control a very complex and sophisticated system (Figure 1). SCADA systems have been providing remote control capability for dispatchers for years plus the ability to acquire much-needed data from remote sites (Figure 2).

PennWell Publishing Co.`s Research Group conducts market data reports on a worldwide basis. PennWell Research`s latest SCADA/EMS reports for Europe, Asia/Pacific Rim and Central/South America indicate significant activity in these two technologies.

The difference between SCADA and EMS, as defined by PennWell Research, is whether the control system includes any software programs that provide for automatic generation control (AGC) and/or power system security analysis or other advanced applications. If so, the control system is considered an EMS rather than a SCADA system. The term mini-SCADA designates a smaller control system, typically PC-based, controlling only a few substation functions with small remote terminal units (RTU).


PennWell Research developed a database of European electric utilities from 1988 to 1989. Several European countries have only one large utility owned by the government, so the task of developing a database is less complex. Utilities in Italy, France, Ireland, Portugal and Greece are organized in this way. Some countries–such as Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Austria–are organized differently. Instead of a single electric utility for the whole country, many utilities share the distribution and transmission of power.

For example, more than 500 German utilities are listed in the publication of the Vereinigung Deutscher Elektrizitatswerke (VDEW), a German electric association. The Swiss Union of Utilities lists more than 400 utilities, and the Austrian Verband der Elektrizitatswerke Osterreichs lists 152 utilities.

The PennWell Research European electric utility database now contains 2,170 utilities from 28 countries. All of the former Soviet republics are now being added to the database. Currency figures were converted to US dollars February 6. Spending plans on SCADA and EMS projects are projected for the next 30-month period which began in February. The total number of system projects in Europe scheduled for this period is 231 (Figure 3) and a total of almost 5,000 RTU projects are planned by 668 utilities. The total projected cost for new projects is (US)$402 million (Table 1). In addition, 1,090 add-on RTUs will be added at a cost of (US)$9.5 million.

Germany has the largest number of projects planned with 140 utilities planning 63 projects at a cost of (US)$114 million. Four countries are planning projects at costs more than (US)$30 million, including France, Romania, Switzerland and the UK. The top SCADA/EMS vendors for European electric utilities for the period 1991 to 1995 are shown in Table 2. Local vendors supplied systems valued at (US)$426 million.

Siemens was the top vendor, having supplied 56 systems valued at (US)$249 million–more than twice the amount of the next closest vendor, Landis & Gyr, which supplied 45 systems at (US)$105 million. The total vendor awards for the period 1991 to 1995 amounted to more than (US)$1 billion (Figure 4).

Consulting, mapboards and communications

European utilities have a number of options regarding consulting services, including:

Vendor companies, such as Siemens or Landis & Gyr, may offer consulting services.

Utilities may employ small local consulting firms.

Smaller utilities may look to larger utilities for assistance, or they may hire a larger consulting firm.

National electric companies tend to use their own staff to design and specify SCADA/EMS projects.

When vendor companies provide consulting services, they do not necessarily win the contract award.

For the 30-month planning period studied by PennWell Research, a total of 23 consulting contracts were planned at a value of (US)$1 million. Some 24 mapboards were planned, totaling (US)$1.5 million. A total of 36 communications projects are planned at a cost of more than (US)$7 million.

Project delays

PennWell Research`s current study shows electric utilities plan to award 141 system projects in the 12-month period which started in February. These projects have a total value of (US)$258 million. However, past experience indicates about 60 percent of these projects will actually be awarded in the 12-month time frame, with the remaining 40 percent being delayed.

Therefore, PennWell Research estimates approximately 85 electric SCADA and EMS projects will be awarded in 1996 with an estimated value of (US)$155 million. The remaining 56 projects, worth about (US)$103 million will be delayed.

Operating platforms

Operating platforms in system projects play a major role in SCADA purchasing decisions. Improvements in computer hardware are causing a strong move away from mainframes and minicomputers toward UNIX workstations and personal computers. Open architecture is gaining favor with many European SCADA purchasers.

Most of the respondents did not indicate a preference for architecture platforms. These systems account for about 66 percent of the systems installed. Some 15 percent will be PC-based; 9 percent are scheduled to be operated with workstations; 5 percent will use open architecture; 4 percent will operate from minicomputers; and 1 percent will operate from mainframe computers.

Communications methods

Many of the planned systems will use a combination of communication methods. Of those who indicated a preference for communication methods, radio was the most frequently mentioned method for these projects. Radio will account for more than half (52 percent) of the communication systems. Microwave is planned for 25 percent of the systems, and 23 percent will use fiber optics.


Most utilities contacted in this current study indicated they appreciate SCADA/EMS supplier visits to their utilities, especially the former East-Block countries. They are eager to obtain information about SCADA and EMS for their utilities. They want the supplier to know more about their country and the utilities, so there will be a closer supplier-user relationship. European utilities are actively interested in projection screen mimics. Dispatchers are looking for more modern and efficient ways to display the network during an emergency.

Open architecture-based systems remain popular in European electric utilities. They are based on PCs or workstations–depending upon the suppliers. Vereinigte Elektrizitätswerke Westfalen (Germany), Badenwerk (Germany), Electricas Reunidas de Zaragoza (Spain), and Oberosterreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG (Austria) have installed or are installing such systems. Within the framework of full liberalization of the telecommunications network infrastructure, the European Commission is pushing for early liberalization of alternate infrastructures like networks owned by railways and utilities. More utilities are predicted to install their own telecommunications systems, with fiber optics as the preferred method.

According to recent legislation enacted by the European Union (EU), bidding for large public projects must be open to vendors throughout the EU.


Albania is rich in hydro power potential and has a surplus of electric energy obtained from season storage. Albania sells energy using transmission routes through the former Yugoslavia. Control is organized from the national dispatch center with obsolete computer equipment and without up-to-date software. The EMS at this center will be replaced only if they receive financial aid. The utility is looking for private funding through bank loans.


Energy supply in Austria is handled by Verbundgesellschaft, which is 51 percent state owned. It balances electricity production and demand and operates the supraregional transmission network. It also manages the state-owned shares in the most important energy producers, energy distributors, and Sondergesellschaften, which is responsible for construction and organization of large generation plants and associated lines.

A recent regulatory decision governing electricity rates makes it more difficult for smaller utilities to operate in the black. Some of these are joining together for greater efficiency. A new chairman was appointed in May. In anticipation of policy changes, some utilities are postponing decisions about major investments.


Bulgaria`s electric power grid is controlled with a national control center (NCC) and five area control centers (ACC). The EMS in the NCC is to be upgraded, as well as the SCADA systems, in the ACCs.


Since the reunification of Germany, the 16 major electric utilities in the former eastern states have been actively modernizing their networks, striving to bring their technology up to western standards. While some are equipped with SCADA systems developed in Dresden, others (such as Energieversorgung Magdeburg) have purchased SCADA systems from western vendors. More systems from western vendors will probably be purchased in the future when modernization of technology has advanced sufficiently and peak loads have stabilized. Most small and mid-sized utilities are acquiring new systems. Many of the large cities, such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, and Frankfurt/Main have EMS. High-voltage transmission lines are being modernized in preparation for ambitious automation plans.


Electricité de France`s seven regional control centers (RCC) are responsible for the management and control of the regional grids, as well as regional generating plants. Each center has a dedicated system for real-time operation. The data transmission network is being replaced progressively through 1998 by a new and more powerful system where each control center will access a private network directly through a network interface computer. Several regional distribution centers are divided into districts, which can choose between decentralized or centralized supervision and control for the region.


The power industry in Poland was reorganized in 1990. A new organization, Polski Sieci Energtyczne (PSE) was set up to control and transmit energy in Poland and coordinate power interchange with other countries. PSE has one NCC and five ACCs. Electricity is distributed by 33 independent utilities. All six of the control centers have state-of-the-art computer systems; most of the 33 utilities have not even heard about SCADA. There is a large information gap between these utilities and the Western European electric utilities.

European Union

The EU has yet to arrive at a comprehensive energy policy. But, its goal of one open market among member countries is profoundly affecting the general picture of European electric utilities. Once the market forces have been set in motion, they can only gain momentum. The debate continues whether the liberalization of the energy market should take the form of a single-buyer model favored by France or a third-party-access approach favored by the European Commission and instituted by some countries independently. Greater integration is seen in the entire European market as West European utilities invest in Central and East European electric companies and the various regional and national systems become interconnected.

Asia/Pacific Rim

The 103 SCADA/EMS projects in Asia and the Pacific Rim scheduled are valued at (US)$926 million (Figure 5 and Table 3). More than half of the dollar value is accounted for by India, where 17 projects are valued at (US)$596 million. Most of the developing countries in the Asia/Pacific Rim region are undergoing a rapid industrialization program. This has created an enormous demand for power in that region. India and China alone are expected to add more than 70 GW in generating capacity by the year 2000.

There is a wave of privatization sweeping the power industry in this region. In the next two years, India, China, Pakistan and Thailand are expected to progress significantly with their privatization plans. Vietnam, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Singapore are expected to follow soon. These changes are creating huge opportunities in the areas of power generation, transmission, distribution and modernization of existing systems. To improve the efficiency of the power sector, a restructuring of the utilities is taking place in several Asian countries. Utilities are planning to spend large sums to develop state-of-the-art monitoring and control systems.

All of the changes will create immense opportunities for SCADA/EMS vendors for energy management, supervisory control, power generation control, substation integration and distribution automation. Some of these reforms are required by the World Bank as a precondition to lending. Some of the preconditions include commercialization and corporatization, involvement of the private sector, market pricing and demand-side management.


Two years ago, Australia`s electric supply industry introduced new, competitive market forces. The joint federal-state plan to implement a national grid is aimed at encouraging open access and free trade in electricity. It was the start of a fully competitive system in which large buyers would be able to negotiate directly with generators. Australian electricity suppliers are restructuring their companies into separate generation, transmission and distribution units. This is being done either as a prelude to privatization or to encourage accountability and efficiency within the state ownership structure.

Pacific Power, Australia`s largest provider of electric power, has a business unit–the Electricity Transmission Authority (ETA)–that manages the transmission network of the state, which is 3000 km long. The ETA has a central control center (CCC) and three ACCs. The CCC has an EMS installed by Toshiba and ESCA Corp. in 1990, plus a back-up SCADA system. The EMS is used to forecast load demand, develop strategies for managing a wide range of “what if” scenarios and monitor consumption to balance supply and demand.

The EMS is also used for on-line exchange of power system statuses and measurements, with the control systems operated by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and the Snow Mountains Authority. Each of the three ACCs has a SCADA system. ETA is planning to replace the master computer of the EMS at the CCC and the master computers of each of the ACCs.

The State Electricity Commission of Victoria has a CCC and three ACCs. There is an EMS at the CCC. Some 44 RTUs communicate with the main system through various communication methods such as microwave, power-line carrier, pilot cables, radio and fiber optics. Besides being used for SCADA and AGC functions, the EMS is also used for advanced applications, such as optimal power flow and training simulation.

Each of the ACCs has a SCADA system. A new SCADA system, planned at a cost of (US)$2 million, will be used to control and monitor the Latrob Valley, Rowville and Keilor areas. All three control centers will be relocated to Keilor.

The Electricity Trust of South Australia has a state system control center equipped with an EMS. The communication methods used are radio, power-line carrier, microwave, fiber optics and leased lines. There is a dynamic mapboard built in-house in 1968. They have plans to upgrade the EMS and add distribution management capabilities.

Macro Corp. is the consultant for the project. The Queensland Electricity Transmission Corp.–a business unit of Queensland Electricity Commission–is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the transmission system. The CCC at Belmont has an EMS used to control thermal and hydro stations and for security applications for the 275/132/100 kV transmission system. The EMS will be upgraded, and 11 consoles and 30 CRTs will be added or upgraded.

People`s Republic of China

Strong economic development in China has brought enormous growth to its electric power industry. Over the past few years, the total installed generating capacity has increased approximately 10 percent per year. In 1993, the total installed capacity of China was 183 GW. Approximately 836 billion kWh were generated in 1994.

China`s power dispatch hierarchy consists of one NCC (see cover photo), six RCCs, and 25 provincial control centers (PCC). All of these control centers are equipped with SCADA/EMS systems. Further down the hierarchy are 250 district control centers (DCC) and approximately 2,000 CCCs. About 60 percent of the DCCs and 20 percent of the CCCs have SCADA systems.

China`s NCC is responsible for power flow management of intertie lines between the RCCs and the coordination of system operation. The NCC`s SCADA/EMS system, imported from Siemens, is the first open system to be installed in China. This open-architecture system, based on SUN or IBM workstations, operates on the UNIX system supported by current and internationally recognized standards such as TPC/IP, SQL or X-Windows. It collects real-time information from RCCs and PCCs by means of their computer network called CEDnet.

Siemens calls its open architecture system SINAUT Spectrum, which was selected by the Minister of Energy in Beijing even though no one in China had experience with this system. It has the advantage of step-by-step extension, which was desired by operators at the NCC.

CEDnet is the China electric power data network that uses dedicated data network equipment and X-25 packet switching equipment. China`s six RCCs are responsible for load forecasting, generation planning and power flow scheduling on intertie lines between provincial systems. RCCs are also responsible for the operation of large power plants.

SCADA systems have been installed at China`s RCCs since 1984. The PCCs are responsible for control of power flow on intertie lines and the operation of high-voltage substations (550 kV and 220 kV). The first SCADA system ever installed in China was put into operation at the Hubei PCC in 1982 by ABB. Since then, many more systems have been installed. Most of these systems were imported from companies such as Westinghouse Systems, Texas Instruments, Siemens Empros and CAE.

Western vendors continue to supply SCADA systems to China`s control centers. New installations from Siemens Empros are currently in progress at the Heilongjian PCC and the Fujian PCC. China`s DCCs are mainly responsible for load control and feeder switching. They are also in charge of the 35 to 220 kV substations. Approximately 75 percent of the 270 DCCs have been equipped with SCADA controls; most of these installed systems have come from foreign suppliers.

China is now making efforts to produce SCADA systems domestically through the Nanjing Automation Research Institute (NARI). NARI has developed a system based on open architecture called the RD-800 (RISC Distributed). The configuration of the RD-800 is comprised of RISC workstations and PCs distributed on a local area network. This system first went into operation in June 1993 at Wuhan City Electric. It was implemented a year later in Huaiyin City and also Jiangsu Province. Further testing and more installations will be made in years to come. Other research institutions throughout China are also in various stages of developing SCADA technology either independently or through partnerships.

The country control centers are responsible for maintaining adequate voltage levels for their customers` needs. They also operate substation equipment at the 10 to 110 kV level. There are approximately 2,000 county control centers, of which about 20 percent have SCADA controls. The market for SCADA systems at the country control center is open to foreign suppliers, although many Chinese SCADA developers are providing more and more of the systems to the country control center. The market for SCADA control in China is tremendous. In particular, the SCADA market is very open for country control center in need of this technology


India is one of the largest potential power markets in the world and is on the eve of a large industrialization and privatization program. Its demand for power is growing at a rapid rate. In 1993 to 1994 alone, the country received an investment of (US)$4.8 billion in the power sector, and the overall power market for the next decade is expected to be (US)$140 billion.

The power sector is divided into five regions, each of which has a regional load dispatch center (RLDC) or a regional coordination and control center. Each RLDC supervises the state load dispatch centers (SLDC) and the central project coordination and control centers that fall under that particular region. Each SLDC monitors several sub-load dispatch centers located in that particular state.

PGCIL has major plans for adding several SCADA/EMS systems at various RLDCs and SLDCs all over the country. For the northern region, PGCIL is planing to replace the SCADA systems installed at the six centers. It will also add 21 SCADA/EMS systems at other control centers. PGCIL will evolve as a coordinator and facilitator of bulk power transfer between various regions and will eventually operate an integrated grid for the country.

The UK is planning to give (US)$75 million to the state of Andhra Pradesh to help distribute electricity without power cuts and losses. The main investment would be spent in rural areas. For the urban areas, especially Hyderabad, a distribution SCADA system will be installed that would provide better on-line system control and fault identification with quick response rate.

In order to reduce regional grid collapses, PGCIL, under its “Power Vision 2000 Plus” strategy, plans to construct inter-regional links between neighboring regions. Inter-regional links already exist between the northern and western regions–a link capable of transmitting 500 MW over the HVDC lines. Plans are also under way to link the western and southern regions with a 400 kV AC link between Chandrapur and Ramagundam.

By 1997, India plans to add 30,600 MW in capacity. However, because of financial constraints, it may achieve only about 20,000 MW. The power minister estimates by the year 2010, a generating capacity of 200 GW would be needed to keep pace with the demand for power.


The Japanese economy has been experiencing a very slow growth rate since the end of 1990. The electric power industry in Japan comprises 10 private power companies that serve 10 different regions and two wholesale electric power companies.

The 10 electric power companies own and operate about 170 control centers. Each company has a central load dispatching office equipped with an EMS. Each CCC monitors several block load dispatch stations and local load dispatch stations equipped with a SCADA system.

The CCC is also usually responsible for system frequency control, economic load dispatch, hydro power generation control, power flow control, system voltage control, and system operation for forced and scheduled outages. Other centers are responsible for maintaining power system stability in the area assigned to them.

The electric power companies in Japan are planning to introduce 1,000 kV transmission lines and a variety of advanced telecommunication technologies. The companies also plan to increase the circuit length of underground transmission lines at an average annual rate of 5.9 percent. New power sources, such as photovoltaic, fuel-cell and wind will also be used to generate electricity.

There are plans to partially deregulate the power generating sector. In June 1994, the Electric Utility Industry Council`s Supply and Demand Committee published a report where it set forth its recommendations for the process of deregulation.

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Figure 1. Sophisticated EMSs, such as this one from Siemens, are bridging the communication and technology gaps between energy suppliers and industry users.

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Figure 2. (Right) Utility engineers and dispatchers can monitor and control their systems more efficiently with SCADA and EMS technology. Photo courtesy of Siemens Energy & Automation.

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