All systems go

As Russia’s electricity sector moves forward towards a competitive environment, its System Operator and advisors have evaluated the existing Energy Management System and decided to implement a state-of-the art upgrade for both the central and regional systems.

Oxana W Yakovleva, System Operator, Russia, Vladimir Calovic and Hans Pille, KEMA Consulting, Russia

The Russian System Operator (SO) is by far the largest energy company in the world. Not only is the geographical area it controls the largest country in the world, but one single system operator manages all this territory. Although the existing Energy Management Systems (EMS) are still functioning within operational limits, the organization decided to replace the central and territorial systems with modern state-of-the-art systems.

The main advantages of the new implementation are expected to be increased reliability and quality of operational control, increased efficiency of the SO, a reduction in undelivered energy due to SO mistakes and a reduction in maintenance expenses, technical staff and expenses for additional software.

Sector organization

The Russian electricity sector is undergoing a process of restructuring and liberalization to provide for better economics and competition for current and future services. The principal objectives of this reform are unbundling and division of the power sector into natural monopolies (energy dispatching and transmission) and competitive businesses (generation and distribution).

The joint stock company United Energy System of Russia (RAO UESR) was formed by the Russian government in 1992 to commercialize and partially privatize the national electricity system. In 2002, the operating-dispatch unit of the RAO UESR was transformed into joint stock company ‘System Operator Central Dispatch Unit of the Unified Energy System’ (SO), RAO UESR’s transmission assets were consolidated into the Federal Grid Company (FGC) and the Administrator of Trade System (ATS) was formed as operator of the wholesale electricity market. The FGC owns the transmission network, is responsible for development of the network, and operates the network under control of the SO. The ATS is responsible for commercial operation and settlement of the wholesale market.

Figure 1: Communication infrastructure of Russia’s System Operator
Click here to enlarge image

With the monopolistic elements, grid companies and system operator established and operational, the competitive suppliers were established. At the end of 2004 the RAO UES holding company was configured and it is currently setting up ten wholesale generation companies (with an average installed capacity of 8 GW) and 14 territorial generation companies (with an average installed capacity of 3 GW).


A transitional model of the wholesale electric power market began to operate in the European and Ural territory of RAO UESR in November 2003. The wholesale market includes three interrelated sectors: regulated, free trade (competitive sector), and deviation (balancing sector).

The expansion of the energy market is in full progress. The trading exchange of the ATS has been in operation since November 2003 and has more than 80 corporate members.

Prices set at the exchange are on average five per cent below those of the regulated sector. The 2004 annual sales of ATS are expected at about $850 million. The volumes of electric power traded in the free trade sector are currently limited to 15 per cent of the total planned generation. The introduction of a fully competitive market is set for summer of 2006.

System Operator

The SO organizes the electricity transport throughout the Russian Federation. The balancing of the energy production and consumption in the energy market is also done by the SO organization. This balancing requires intensive co-ordination with the market operator ATS and the market participants. The final result of this co-ordination is an energy market that not only reflects the market price but also the physical constraints of the network.

The main tasks of the SO organization are the control of energy transport, drawing up energy balances, ensuring electricity supply reliability and supporting the energy market. These tasks are not complicated, but the size of the grid, the energy flows and the constraints make the whole operation rather complex.

The SO is organized hierarchically. A single control centre (CDU) in the capital, Moscow, directly communicates with seven territorial centres (ODU), spread geographically all over the Russian Federation. These seven territorial centres communicate with 63 regional centres (RDU). Each of these centres is equipped with automated Energy Management Systems.

Control systems

The System Operator relies heavily on automated systems to register and analyze the status of the electricity transport. Just like the tasks and responsibilities of the organization, the requirements of these systems changed dramatically while introducing a liberalized energy market. The EMS controlling the energy transport required many new functions specifically to interface with the newly developed energy market systems. This was a reason for the SO management to analyze the need to replace most of the automated control systems.

The existing operational Energy Management Systems are developed and maintained by in-house staff or related companies. The system and software maintenance efforts have been growing rapidly with each new addition to these systems. The existing systems are now at a stage where new functionality cannot easily be added and have low capacity compared to currently available technology. The systems are close to the end of their life cycle and a lot of manual work is required for daily operations (filling database, forms, reports, requests). In addition, interconnectivity with the future automation systems of the Federal Grid company (grid owner) and ATS (market operator) is not possible or would be very expensive to implement. The same would apply in the case of interconnection with other European energy systems, as the mechanisms for operational control do not support the new commercial market relations.

Figure 2: EMS standard protocols (above) with scope of replacement project (below)
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The new market designs require detailed and accurate mathematical modelling of the energy transport as well as reproducible reporting and calculations. The new systems should have automated facilities for energy market support and many options for sharing and reporting of data.

Feasibility study

To finance procurement of the systems and to enable the SO management to decide on future developments, SO staff and their consultants undertook a study to find the best economic migration track for the evolution of the SO-CDU’s EMS. In this study, special attention was given to different models for a deregulated, commercialized electricity supply market within the Russian Federation, and the expanded role that an EMS has to play in such a new landscape. The result of that study was the basis for an investment programme to replace the current EMS with an advanced system, that will both skirt the risks associated with the operation of the current outdated system and provide a sustainable environment enabling operation for a period of ten years or more, including any future deregulated market functions.

This study showed that the most viable option to proceed with the EMS project was to engage in a stepwise replacement of the entire system: replace both the central CDU and seven territorial ODU systems, then gradually replace the regional systems.

The working group expects the cost of the operations using the current EMS to rise in the short term. This additional cost can be avoided by replacement of the EMS. By adding standard features of modern EMS type systems, several other costs (e.g. transport losses) can be avoided, or at least limited. Also, most important but not quantified in this study, market support is certain during the lifetime of the new system. Benefits from this are not directly for the SO organization. The study was reviewed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD is to finance key elements in the replacement projects.

Architecture and standards

Key issues in the new system and in the new market oriented organisation are data exchange, efficiency and time-critical operation. Regular requirements are consistent data and reproducible analysis. Important criteria for any system are a consistent and clear definition and structure of data.

In an early stage the SO management decided to implement standards for data exchange. Several IEC standards were evaluated and selected for implementation in future systems. The management of RAO UESR related companies followed up this decision. In September 2004 in Moscow, top managers from RAO UESR and from the major infrastructure energy organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding acknowledging the importance of using the Common Information Model (CIM) as the principal mechanism for enabling compatibility of information within the Russian electric power system. This decision obviously has consequences for the architecture of the EMS.

The new EMS will, like the existing system, reflect the structure of the System Operator organization. A central system (CDU) in Moscow will directly interface with seven territorial systems (ODU). These seven territorial systems will interface with a total of 63 regional systems (RDU). Replacement of the 63 regional systems is carried out by the System Operator’s own staff. An international project team will replace the two upper levels of EMS.

The EMS consists of several component subsystems:

  • Energy control system
  • Information storage & retrieval system
  • Backup control system
  • Operator training simulator
  • Programme development system.

All data storage and data exchange will be based on CIM. The data exchange with the energy market will be based on CIM compliant data streams.

Project status

In 2004, working groups of SO staff, their consultants and several other Russian and foreign specialists prepared the system’s technical specification. This specification was approved by all organizations involved.

SO and its consultants organized a pre-qualification for potential tenderers in Spring 2004. This pre-qualification was open for all specialized companies. Six companies from the initially sixteen interested companies sent in a pre-qualification tender. From the six companies only three remained. These three companies were able to prove to the pre-qualification evaluation team that they had indeed the experience, qualifications and potential to provide the SO organisation with a state-of-the-art Energy Management System. Between the end of 2004 and Summer 2005 the suppliers – ABB, Areva and Siemens – will prepare technical and commercial tenders. One of these companies will be selected to implement the project and have the system operational before 2008.

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