The future of managing distribution networks
Schneider Electric believes that the ADMS real-time platform will become a standard IoT platform for the complete management of distribution networks. It will serve as a link between operations management and business management, clearly defining the operational processes and flows of information throughout the utility—key to the digital transformation process that the modern utility must face.
However, some pre-requisite steps need to be taken before distribution utilities decide to use a cloud-based solution for integrated energy management. While the large utilities will have their own deployment in local facilities, the small utilities will have access to the most advanced functionalities through solutions in external clouds managed by third parties at affordable prices. The technology will be available soon, but a certain maturity and conviction is needed in the mindset of the utility with regards to ownership, location, and security, among others, that must be addressed.
This integration of technology needs to be carried out in stages. We must bear in mind that we are talking about complex projects that require an implementation phase and an extended maturity curve than what is required by other projects. Thus, a first stage could be to establish the essential functionalities and necessary operative processes while later stages focus on incorporating more advanced functionalities according to the utility’s roadmap. If implemented correctly, this technology will open doors for modernization of electrical systems on a national scale, as can be seen in the success story of Ecuadorian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy.
The ADMS platform will be the manager (not necessarily the source) of the integral distribution network model and its assets, publishing and receiving data from external systems such as, weather forecast information, information to and from the regulatory entity, social media, the energy market, etc. With the appearance of dispersed DER components in the distribution network such as, distributed generation, storage systems, electric vehicles and micro-grids, and components on the consumption side such as, smart homes, demand response programs, new agents in the regulated market, the ADMS platform will become a fundamental pillar in daily operations for the distributor.
Each utility will have to define the roadmap to find its own ADMS solution based on:
- The applicable regulatory framework
- The investment plan according to the economic scenario and capabilities, and
- Their own priorities and those of their customers.
Finally, ADMS solutions will gradually incorporate analysis, machine learning features that will increase the capabilities of the traditional algorithms used for simulation and planning, as well as online optimization algorithms.
The road ahead
In summary, the ADMS real-time platform will become the standard IoT platform for distribution utilities worldwide—promoting digital transformation and allowing faster and more efficient management of the network.
To know more on how to handle this transformation and ensure a smooth transition—from traditional, paper-driven processes to a digital and adaptive way of managing grids in real-time—please read our FREE whitepaper, “Advanced Distribution Management Systems: The Foundation of Distribution System Operations”.