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SCADA Provides Critical Data

The City of Glenwood Springs, Colorado is a beautiful city nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley three hours west of Denver.  The City has established itself as a hub for technology having built an entire fiber optic and canopy wireless communication system to provide for the communication needs of local residents and businesses.  As the new services were added along with local growth, the electric department needed a way to monitor their electric system to better manage their power and improve reliability.

Issue

The electric system in Glenwood Springs is distributed across three substations which are placed in locations through the narrow portion of the canyon.  It’s not easy to quickly get to a substation or to visibly see them from the operations center.  Switching operations need to be done regularly to reroute power based on construction needs or due to issues from the supplying utility.  It was difficult, if not impossible for staff to gauge how much load was present quickly or what the load profile might be over the next couple of days.  This led to uncertainty of reliability when performing switching operations.

Approach

ESC engineering has a working relationship with Glenwood Springs dating back over 20 years and has a very good understanding of their electric system.  ESC had proposed implementing a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in several planning studies done for the City.  A system design was developed and due to cost constraints a PC-based HMI was selected as the platform for the SCADA system.  ESC provided the design, specified the components in the substations, and provided all the software programming and integration for the redundant system.  The system communicates over a dedicated fiber optic network supplied by the City.

Result

The City’s electric department marveled at the information provided by the SCADA system.  They can easily monitor the entire system from anywhere on their network and can review alarms, historical data, and system reports.  Historical data is also used by planning engineers in developing short term and long range studies.  When a recent substation was being replaced and load needed to be rerouted City staff had great comfort in knowing what the system was doing before rerouting load and were able to carefully monitor the system and react accordingly.