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Chapter 4

Communication in Microgrids

Dr. Jorge Luis Sosa Avendaño and Dra. Luz Stella Moreno Martín

Abstract

Microgrids are very dynamic structures that need continuous monitoring of their components in order to guarantee the control objectives and the protection of inner components and users. To accomplish these functions it is necessary a dedicated communication infrastructure to coordinate the control actions and to broadcast the collected data to the interested partners that can be allocated in distant places. The microgrid configuration and the control objectives impose a variety of requirements to the communication system which must to guarantee different delivering times for diverse type of signal generated inside and outside of the microgrid. Communication infrastructure as well as the protocols and technologies to be used in microgrids communication system are not yet fully stablished, which causes the information about it is very diverse and imprecise. In this way, the aim of this chapter is to identify the main components that might constitute the microgrids communication infrastructure and their corresponding functions. Furthermore, different communications technologies that might fulfill the microgrids communication requirements are described. Also, interoperability and security issues are introduced. Finally the conclusions remarks are presented.

Keywords: Communication network, interoperability, security, overlay networks, agents.

4.1.

Introduction

The increasing integration of distributed generation resources in the electricity network offers many opportunities and benefits, including the possibility of support the electrical system in high demand hours and to reduce losses in the transmission of electrical energy from distant places. However, the uncontrolled increase of distributed generation resources can lead to problems such as bi-directional energy flows that mainly depend on the environmental conditions, which may lead to over voltages and to invalidates the traditional power flow control methods and protection schemes.

It is clear that the integration of distributed generation resources implies that current electrical system must be upgraded to a new concept where the information between generation system and final consumer must flow in both ways, in order to obtain a more flexible, efficient, reliable and economic electric service. The successful implementation of this new model of electric network known as the smart grid (SG), is highly influenced by the successful development and implementation of intelligent microgrids (MGs) and novel information and communication technologies (ICT).

MGs are believed to provide an answer to the integration of a high number of small distributed energy resource (DER) units into the electricity network. In fact, this autonomous power networks are capable of coordinate and manage DER such as photovoltaic systems, wind turbine, fuel cells, loads and storage system

Jorge Sosa. Universidad de los Andes. Mérida-Venezuela. jorgesosa5@gmail.com Luz Stella Moreno. Universidad de los Andes. Mérida-Venezuela. luz@ula.ve

in a more decentralized way which can lead to obtain the full benefits of distributed generation at the same time that avoid their negative effect on power grid operation [1] [2].

The distributed nature of MGs claims for an effective exchange of information among theirs components. Thus, the communication networks have a very important role on the successful implementation of MGs and are essential to achieve reliable performance and high efficiency power delivering, also to maintain stable operation during power network disturbances and power quality during islanded mode operation.

This chapter identifies the main networks that might constitute the MGs communication infrastructure. These main components have been identified considering that MGs will belong in the near future to the SG. Next, the expected functions and main characteristic of each type of network are described. Afterward, different communications technologies that might fulfill the networks requirements are presented. After that, interoperability and security issues are introduced. Finally some conclusions remarks are presented.

4.2. Communication Infrastructure

Microgrids can be considered as the smaller smart part of future power grid located downstream of the distribution substation. It comprises distributed generation sources, storage facilities and associated loads which can be a variety of customers, i.e., residential buildings, commercial units, and industrial parks.

The MGs can operate directly connected to the power network, but also as an autonomous power island that interact with the main grid. In both operation modes the active and reactive power flow, local voltages and frequency must be controlled in order to achieve a reliable electric service. Furthermore, black start operation, participation on energy market, storage energy management and ancillary services like voltage support, power quality enhancement of specific loads, load control and optimization of dispatchable distributed generation (DG) units are additional functionalities expected from these autonomous grids [2], [3].

To deal with the aforementioned requirements different control architectures has been proposed [2], [4], [5]. In general, there are two main approaches for control implementation in microgrids. It can be centralized, i.e. there is a microgrid central controller (MGCC) that collects the required data from all components of the MG and performs necessary actions, or it can be decentralized, where every device has its own controller that will take actions according to their pre-defined procedures [6]. The centralized scheme is implemented by mean of hierarchical control structure which will be well explained in the next chapter. It usually is performed in three levels which permit to achieve the control objectives. The primary control performs the function of power sharing among DG units as was explain in the Chapter 3. The secondary control focuses on the restoration of frequency and voltage deviation caused by the primary control, as well as power quality issues. Finally, tertiary control level deals with economic issues such as optimal dispatching, operation scheduling, and optimization of energy resources to achieve different objectives.

The performance of the first level of control can be achieved without communication between the distributed generators by means of the droop method [4]. However, the use of the communication networks is necessary to avoid the voltage and frequency deviations introduced by the primary control, also, the use of communication enable the economic optimization, ensuring that source and load meet each other at the lowest cost possible during steady-state, and again soon after load or supply changes [7].

Evidently, to accomplish all the aforementioned functions it is necessary to deploy a variety of sensors inside of consumer buildings and along of the distribution feeders for monitoring and control purposes. These sensors will constitute the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) of the microgrid and later of the smart grid. The main function of the AMI is to provide metered values of voltage and current magnitudes, frequency, real and reactive power flows and phase angles. Additionally, the information about faults and

relay statuses will be also collected by the AMI. The collected data must be sent to the corresponding controller that in turn perform the necessary actions and send feedback signals to the corresponding actuators.

The requirements on communication capabilities will be determined by the design of the MG, and the control architecture. In a centralized control scheme, the MGCC optimizes the MG power exchange with the utility grid. This process is achieved by monitoring the energy market prices and maximizing the local production. Thus, the DER units and controllable loads within the MG receive specific set points from the MGCC to achieve the control objectives. Besides, the DER units must to inform periodically its production levels to the MGCC and the loads do the same regarding its requirements.

On the other hand, decentralized control scheme provide certain level of intelligence to the local controllers (LCs) of DER units and loads within the MG. It increases the autonomy of the LCs which can communicate with each other to form a larger intelligent unit. In this type of scheme, optimizing expenses and profits of each DER unit could not be the main objective, however, this scheme intends improve the general performance of the MG [3]. Evidently, the information exchange in this type of control architecture become more complex, due to LCs not only will exchange simple values and on-off signals. Instead, they will interchange complex information such as knowledge and procedures to be followed by others LCs. Thus, advanced distributed control system as multi-agent system (MAS) have been proposed as an option to perform this control architecture [8], [9]. Figure 4.1 shows a simplified diagram of the information flow among different components of a MG with centralized scheme.

DG level

Customer kW profile P/Q Sharing P/Q set point Dispachable Syncronization Real time MGCC and Forecast
Customer
kW profile
P/Q Sharing
P/Q set point
Dispachable
Syncronization
Real time
MGCC
and Forecast
Intermittent
Grid level
Sources
Import/Export Power
Connect/Disconnect
Energy M arket
Load level
Connect/Disconnect
Load following

Fig. 4.1 Information flow in a MG with centralized control scheme.

The information exchange within MGs either with centralized or decentralized control scheme can be developed through different physical media such as copper (telephone lines or dedicated wires), optic fiber, radiowave and microwave. Depending on coverage and functions, three main area networks can be identified in the MG communication infrastructure: Costumer area networks (CANs), neighborhood area networks (NANs) and wide area network (WAN) [6], [10], [11].

Costumer Area Networks (CANs): Also called premise network correspond to the first sections of the communications process. Depending on the consumption profile it can be classified in home area network (HAN), business area network (BAN) and industrial area network (IAN). This kind of network provides low

bandwidth, two-way communications between the smart appliances, smart meter (SM) and costumer concentrator or gateway (Gw). At this level of the communication infrastructure the real-time data is collected to be used in demand side management and demand response. The exchanged data can be voltage, current, power and frequency values. It usually uses a start topology and wired or wireless technologies can be implemented to perform the communication links, the collected data have to be accurate and secured [6], [10],

[11].

Neighborhood Area Networks (NANs): This type of network provides two-way communications between the MGCC and customer concentrators. Data collected by smart meters in CANs are sent to the central controller for necessary actions. At this level, the MGCC communicate with LCs of DERs to accomplish different objectives. Also, LCs communicates each other when the decentralized control scheme is implemented. This network can also include the monitoring of distribution protection systems close to the MG.

Wide Area Networks (WANs): Also called access area network (AAN), are two-way communications systems used for long distances. This network supports the monitoring and sensing functions between numerous substations and grid headquarters and communicates the MG with the main utility grid. It can also work as an external access network that exchange information with external users such as distribution network operator (DNO), market operator (MO) or other MGs [3]. At this level, high capacity and bandwidth are needed to handle the massive amount of data generated in different sectors of the power grid and external users. This network is critical for real-time response and safe mode operation changing (connection/disconnection to/from the grid). A general diagram of MGs communication infrastructure is depicted in Figure 4.2.

CAN NAN WAN MO Gw MGCC A DNO Gw LC LC ∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙ MGCC Load MGCC
CAN
NAN
WAN
MO
Gw
MGCC
A
DNO
Gw
LC
LC
∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙∙
MGCC
Load
MGCC
DG
C
Gw
B

Fig. 4.2 Communication Infrastructure for microgrids

4.3. Technologies for Microgrids communication

Different parameters must be considered to choose properly a determined technology of communication. In the context of MGs, a number of issues need to be addressed, these include the bandwidth, upper bounds of latency period when sending and receiving the data packets, area to be cover, cost of deployment, the data throughput achieved by the communication layer and the security to handle the metering and other customer’s information.

In the smart grid and consequently in MGs scenario, the majority of data can be considered as on-off transmissions, since by default, smart meters may be configured to send information periodically to the utilities. In order to maintain a good tracking of energy use the update period for different meters can be stablished as follows: residential energy use each 60 minutes, 15 minutes for commercial profile and 24 hours to transmit data from gas and water meters. Furthermore, the time period for data retrieval from DER units can be adjusted based on the needs of the grid operators and the MG controller objectives. The Table 4.1 summarizes the main requirements of each area network considering data rate, coverage range among others. To accomplish the requirements of the different area networks some wired and wireless technologies can be used. The following subsections will introduce some of these technologies and discuss the main characteristics that offer to MG applications.

Table 4.1 Requirements of area networks

Area

Data rate

Range

Band-Width

Latency

Traffic

Network

CAN

Low bit rate

Tens of

Low

2 sec – 15 sec

Periodic,

1 – 30 kbps

meters

15 – 60 min

NAN

10 – 100 kbps

Hundreds of

Medium

10 msec - 2sec

Periodic

meters

WAN

High bit rate

Tens of

Wide

msec – 1 sec

Random

hundreds Mbps –

kilometers

few Gbps

Wireless Technologies

Wireless technologies are very attractive because they avoid the use of physical connections. Also, offers easy installation of remote units, low operation cost and flexibility to expand the network in the future. Some of the standard wireless technologies that fit in MGs applications are WLAN, WIMAX, Zigbee, cellular mobile networks, LTE and Bluetooth.

a) WLAN: This technology provides robust and high speed communication links among two or more devices by mean of a wireless distribution method (often spread-spectrum or Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing OFDM) within a limited area (some hundreds of meters) such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building. This type of networks can be implemented as an extension of wired LAN networks or directly as an alternative to it. WLANs can be configured as ad- hoc networks to share information between devices by means of WLAN-cards, or in infrastructure mode to get access to traditional networks like Ethernet, Token Ring, among others. Furthermore, is possible to connect to Internet through an access point. WLANs are based on the IEEE 802.11 standards family that includes the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n. They operate in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio-frequency bands that include 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. The IEEE 802.11a/b/g operates in a 20 MHz channel offering net data rates between 1 Mbps and 54 Mbps, and the IEEE 802.11n operates in both the 20 and 40 MHz channels providing higher data rates in the range of 26 Mbps to 600 Mbps [11].

IEEE 802.11n is an amendment to IEEE 802.11-2007, which is Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) able to works in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands known as dual band routers. It allows data communications that avoid the crowded 2.4 GHz band, which is also shared with Bluetooth

devices and microwave ovens. The 5 GHz band is also wider than the 2.4 GHz band, with more channels, thus, permits a greater number of devices to share the band space.

The main problems of WLAN are related to missing roaming and authentication features, as well as the range that it can covers. In MGs, WLAN can be used for various applications. For example, it can be used for faults protection, monitoring and control of DER. The 5 GHz band, could increase the reliability on WLAN technology since avoid electromagnetic interferences [6].

b) WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access): is a long range system that supports both fixed and mobile broadband wireless access to deliver connection to a network, in most cases the Internet. It is based in the IEEE standard 802.16e series which main objective is to achieve worldwide interoperability for microwave access. It has two types of spectrum: one is licensed (2.3, 2.5 and 3.5 GHz) and another one unlicensed that operates at the 5.8GHz frequency band and provide data rates from 34 Mbps to 70 Mbps with latencies periods in the order of 1 ms and cover distances up to 48 km. Licensed spectrums allow higher power and longer distance transmission. The bandwidth and the range of WiMAX provide an alternative for cable and DSL communication channels and may complement Wi- Fi network to provide higher stability and reliability for the last mile connectivity (CANs and NANs). WiMAX is strong candidate to be used in communication infrastructure of MGs due to the fact that it can provide long distance coverage and high data rates. It can be used to collect real time data from household meters, therefore reducing the need for human meter readers. Also, real-time pricing and energy consumptions of customers can be supervised to help in the accomplishment optimizing objectives. Additionally, power outage detection and restoration can be monitored and controlled in a faster way by WIMAX. [6], [11], [12].

c) ZigBee: is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh network standard conceived for control and monitoring applications where the long battery life in remote devices is expected. It is based on an IEEE 802.15.4 standard for low-rate wireless personal area networks (WPANs). ZigBee chips are typically integrated with radios and with microcontrollers that have between 60-256 kbytes flash memory of capacity. It operates in the ISM radio bands: 2.4 GHz in most of jurisdictions worldwide;

784 MHz in China, 868 MHz in Europe and 915 MHz in the USA and Australia. Data rates vary

from 20 kbps (868 MHz band) to 250 kbps (2.4 GHz band). Zigbee devices have low latency, which contribute to reduce the consumption average current. The transmission can cover areas from 10 to

100 meters line-of-sight, depending on power output and environmental characteristics, longer

distances can be reached by passing the data through a mesh network of intermediate devices. The technology defined by the ZigBee specification is intended to be simpler and less expensive than other WPANs, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Their main applications include electrical meters, traffic management systems, and other consumer and industrial equipment that require short-range low-rate wireless data transfer. In microgrids, it can be used to exchange information between appliances and smart meters inside of HANs. Since ZigBee devices have low memory and low processing capacity they are not able to handle complex data and are not suitable for critical locations in microgrids.

d) Cellular mobile networks are mainly based on 2G and 3G technologies Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) or cdmaOne, CDMA2000, and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). GSM is a 2G cellular technology that employs Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) channel access method.

General packet radio service (GPRS) have been proposed as an extension of the GSM to transmit information by means of the packet commutation technique. This is a carrier strategy better suited to transmit information in an intermittent mode that provides moderate-speed data transfer by using the TDMA channels, in the GSM system. The GPRS also provides Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), standardized by Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), and is considered as a 2.5G transitional technology able to provide higher data rate, IP traffic, and text messaging.

GPRS is a more efficient system with variable throughput and latency times that depend on the number of users that share the service concurrently. This operating strategy is useful to provide services that not require a constant transmission rate, thus can be successful applied in the MGs communication infrastructure. Also, GPRS usage is typically charged based on volume of transferred data instead of time of connection, which make it very attractive from the cost of service point of view.

The GPRS system includes two new elements to the basic GSM architecture which lead to achieve the packets exchange. These new elements are: the serving GPRS support node (SGSN) and the gateway GPRS support node (GGSN). The SGSN perform control functions such as access, security and localization of mobile terminals. On the other hand, the GGSN is in charge of handling the adequate routing of data packets between mobile terminals and external packets exchange networks that support protocols such as X.25, IP and point to point protocol (PPP). The PPP is often not supported by the mobile phone operator but if the mobile is used as a modem to the connected device, PPP is used to tunnel IP to the phone. This allows an IP address to be assigned dynamically (IPCP not DHCP) to the mobile equipment.

e) Long Term Evolution (LTE): is a 4G wireless broad band technology that provides high speed communication and data transfer with scalable bandwidth. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies. The LTE specification provides downlink peak rates of 300 Mbps, uplink peak rates of 75 Mbps and quality of service (QoS) provisions that permit a transfer latency of less than 5 ms in the radio access network. LTE has the ability to manage fast-moving mobiles and supports multi-cast and broadcast streams. LTE supports scalable carrier bandwidths, from 1.4 MHz to 20 MHz and supports both frequency division duplexing (FDD) and time-division duplexing (TDD). LTE-Advanced is a further improvement of LTE considered as the next generation technology with wider bandwidth support. In the context of micro-grids, LTE would have great influence on communication infrastructures due to its high peak data rates and scalable bandwidth. The most attractive advantage of adopting LTE-Advanced to be the 4G network for the MGs and smart grid is that the cost of upgrading on the existing 3G network can be minimized.

f) Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard designed to exchange data over short distances. It is part of the IEEE 802.15.1 standard and operates on the 2.4 GHz unlicensed ISM band. It can work in both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations, which can be used for MG local monitoring applications between distances of 10-100m. Bluetooth devices may interfere with IEEE 802.11 based WLAN network and it offers weak security as compared to other standards.

g) Other potential wireless technologies comprise the microwave technology. In microwave transmission, radio waves of small wavelengths are used for transmitting information. It provides long distance coverage up to 60 kilometers. It can be used in point-to-point communication for MG applications, for instance in communication between a MGCC and the corresponding DNO or MO and links between two or more MGs.

Wired Technologies

Wired technologies may be preferable options for utilities when they are already available in the served areas which can lead to reach the performance requirements. It comprises the use of unused telephone lines, power line carriers and optic fiber to transmit the information among different entities. Next, some common technologies that can be used for the information exchange inside and outside of the MG are described.

a) Power line communication (PLC) it has been used for quite some time in electric power systems. The PLC has been used to provide a communications network at the same time that support the conventional power distribution services, like remote metering, load control and tele-protection between electrical substations.

PLC can be used for information exchange by impressing a modulated carrier signal on the already installed power lines that generally includes the medium voltage (MV) as well as the low voltage (LV) distribution network. Different types of technologies are commonly used in PLC, for instance, broadband (BBPLC) and narrowband (NBPLC). The NBPLC operates at low frequencies (several kHz) while BBPLC operates at higher frequencies (hundreds of MHz) [13].

Data rates and distance limits vary widely over the used technology; low-frequency (about 100–200 kHz) carriers impressed on high-voltage transmission lines may reach long distances with an equivalent data rate of a few hundred bps, carrying telemetry, analog voice and control signals. To achieve higher data rates the cover range must be reduced. For instance, a LAN operating at millions of bps may only cover one floor of an office building.

PLC can also be used at home or offices to interconnect appliances that have an Ethernet port providing a broadband Internet access by means a BBPLC modem that is connected to any AC outlet in PLC-networked homes and buildings. Adapters that allow for such connectivity are often marketed as "Ethernet over power" (EOP) and allow sharing data among devices without the inconvenience of running dedicated network cables. A newly discovered mechanism called E-Line is able to support a much higher data rate in excess of 1 Gbps and operate in bands between 100 MHz and 10 GHz [11].

Unfortunately, PLC communications suffers from attenuation, noise, and distortion problems because the power distribution system was originally designed for 50/60 Hz transmissions, which cause limited ability to carry higher frequencies that could cause problems of communication and inappropriate operation of controlled devices [11], [14].

From the microgrids point of view, it could be an interesting option for HANs because PLC avoids the need of installation of dedicated communication networks and the area to be covered let to reach high data rates. In this sense, the study presented in [15] discusses the application of PLC in MV distribution network combined with Wi-Fi for the last mile access with improved quality of service QoS.

b) Optical fiber communication: Optical fiber has large advantages over existing copper wire in long- distance and high-demand applications. The main benefits are its exceptionally low loss and its inherently high data-carrying capacity. It allows long distances links between amplifiers and repeaters with high volume of data. Another benefit is that even when run alongside each other for long distances, fiber cables do not experience crosstalk interference, in contrast to some types of electrical transmission lines. Fiber can be installed in areas with high electromagnetic interference (EMI), such as alongside utility lines, power lines, and railroad tracks. Therefore, is used by many telecommunications companies to transmit telephone signals, internet communication, and cable television signals. However, infrastructure development within cities sometimes became complex and expensive to install and operate. Due to these difficulties, fiber-optic communication systems have primarily been installed in long-distance applications, where they can be used to their full transmission capacity, offsetting the high installation cost.

In MGs applications it could be used in WANs to communicate energy market information and real time data between DNO and MGCC when the distances exceed the limits of cheaper technologies.

c) Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies based in the IEEE 802.3 standard for local area networks (LANs) and metropolitan area networks (MANs). Over the time, link distances and Ethernet data transfer rates have been increased. Nowadays, is possible to reach data rates of 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, and even 100 Gbps in the Gigabit Ethernet (GbE).

Actually this technology constitutes the dominant local area networking solution in home and office applications. It allows high-speed communication, easy to install and the interface circuits are cheap. Thus, most of computerized equipment today includes a built-in Ethernet interface.

The original 802.3 protocol has been enhanced and completed with various modifications like new priorities schemes and clock synchronization, to support real-time communications that fulfill most of the requirements for industrial applications. Furthermore, Ethernet technologies, support for security and cryptography, and take advantage of the entire communication infrastructure already built [16].

The use of Ethernet has been extended to SCADA systems whose most of vendor specific protocols such as Modbus and Modicon, and standard protocols as the Profibus and DNP3 now offers complete open interfacing to operate over Ethernet TCP/IP. With these new features the links can be performed over copper wires. But, at large sites with high levels of electromagnetic interference such as power substations and railways applications the synchronous optical networking (SONET) can be used to perform the connection.

Avoiding Internet use in SCADA communication is a good security practice. However, most of actual human machine interface used in SCADA systems are ready to use Ethernet TCP/IP regardless of security risks [27]. The application of SCADA system in MGs, might be a natural option to monitor and control electric power generation, heat generation, storage resources, energy distribution and other ancillary services. For that reasons, Ethernet can be considered to be used in MG applications, where it can be perform point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communications like connection links between DG units or with the corresponding MGCC.

4.4.

Interoperability

Microgrids are very dynamic structures that need continuous monitoring of their components in order to guarantee control and protection of all components. However, communication architecture and protocol that shall be used in these systems is yet an open topic. As a result, multiple communication technologies and standards could coexist in different parts of the system which bring some problems for interoperability between products from different vendors. For this reason, the identifying and establishments of universal communication rules is one of the most important technical tasks to be reached today in the MG field.

Heterogeneous communication technologies are required to meet the diverse needs of the MGs. Therefore, instead of focusing on defining one particular technology, it is more important to achieve agreement on usage and interpretation of exchanged messages between different standards or technologies [17]. This process has been initiated with the publication and application of standards such as IEEE-1547.3 and IEC 61850. The first, include recommendation about monitoring and communication of DGs. Its main purpose is to facilitate the interoperability of DGs in an interconnected system. The second is described next.

The IEC 61850 is an international communication standard issued to reaching a universal communication infrastructure in electrical systems. It was released in 2003 for the first time for communication within a substation automation system [18], after that, some extensions have been published containing object models for communication of wind power IEC 61400-25 [19], hydro power IEC 61850-7-410 [20] and distributed energy resources IEC 61850-7-420 [21].

IEC 61850 provides the framework in which the information should be presented so that all interested parties can share and use efficiently such information. It defines the structure of the data contained in devices, the naming conventions for the data, how the devices are controlled by the applications, and the testing procedure in accordance to the standard [18]. Currently, IEC 61850 only specifies mappings on a communication stack that includes the Manufacturing Message Specification (MMS) over the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and high speed Ethernet. However, is possible to develop mapping to other protocols [22].

This standard uses Object Oriented (OO) modeling for the equipment and their functionalities which lead their models to be independent of the application. All communication functions, including the data interfaces, are divided into the smallest possible pieces, which may communicate with each other, and may be implemented separately in dedicated intelligent electronics devices (IEDs). These IEDs are called logical nodes (LNs) whose names are defined by four-letter abbreviations. The first letter specifies the class of physical equipment that the LN belongs to. For instance, a LN that describes the operation of a circuit breaker is defined as XCBR, where X denotes that the breaker belongs to the switchgear class. Furthermore, LNs that are related to a specific function can be grouped to form a logical device (LD). Thus, a LD is a virtual device that can represent a single or a group of physical devices or can represent a functionality, for instance protection and monitoring, which is provided by LNs of multiple IEDs [23]. Some works have presented the application of the IEC 61850 standard in the MG and DER fields. Among them, the modeling of protection system in MGs has been presented in [24] and [25]. Also, the modeling of the electrical connections of wind turbine has been reported in [23]. A conceptual view of the logical nodes which could be used for different parts of DER and MGs management systems is depicted in Figure 4.3. In this figure, it is possible to observe the LNs that can be attributed to each logical device. In the case of generators, each prime mover need specific logical nodes to model its own characteristics, however, the general operational characteristics of these generators are the same across all DER types. Therefore, only one DER generator model is required to describe the generator characteristics of all the DER units.

To achieve proper connection on the communication network, the DGs that have been modeled in accordance with IEC 61850-7-420 also must be equipped with a communication module which will send different parameters such as status, rated current and DG type to the interested components in the MG. For instance, the model of a reciprocating engine with the LNs from the IEC 61850 standard is depicted in the Fig. 4.4. In this figure, DCIP is used to model the reciprocating engine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. In the case that a battery be used in the control and/or start of the engine the parameter ZBAT and ZBTC have to be included. MFUL, DFLV characterize the fuel characteristics and the delivery system of the

fuel. With the parameter MFUL the specific fuel type can be identified including; diesel, wind, hydro, etc. Consequently, this model can be used to represent different DG types such as diesel gen-sets, wind turbines and micro hydroelectric power plans.

The parameters DREX and DEXC represent the excitation type and DGEN, DRAT, DRAZ, represent the DER generator operations, the basic generator ratings (power/current) and advanced generator features respectively. RSYN is used to represent the necessary synchronization to connect the generator output with the MG or the power grid. Finally, the communication and control function are performed by IHMI and ITCI interface. ITCI unit is divided into DRCS and DRCT which represent DER controller status and DER controller characteristics, respectively.

In the case that some DER generators require rectifiers, inverters, and other types of converters to change the electrical output to appropriate end-user AC level, others interesting parameter such as ZRCT which defines the characteristics of a rectifier or ZINV that defines the characteristics of an inverter have to be included in the model. A complete description of each logical devices and their corresponding logical node can be found in [21].

4.5. Security in MGs Communication

Security is a key factor in the development of MGs and their integration into the distribution network. It becomes a more important issue when open networks are used to transmit control signals and information that can reveals users behavior, like power usage patterns, energy prices among others.

External attacks and privacy leakage together with inherent vulnerabilities of traditional power grid could make MGs extremely defenseless entities. The data integrity and authentication may be compromised through network attacks such as impersonation, or Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Also, insider threat like viruses and Trojan horses may compromise the security and the performance of the whole system.

Fig. 4.3 Conceptual organization of DER logical devices and logical nodes in IEC 61850-7-420 [21].

Fig. 4.3 Conceptual organization of DER logical devices and logical nodes in IEC 61850-7-420 [21].

DGEN, DRAT Grid RSYN DRAZ, DCST Interface
DGEN, DRAT
Grid
RSYN
DRAZ, DCST
Interface
DCIP DREX DEXC
DCIP
DREX
DEXC
ZBAT MFUL DRCS ZBTC DFLV IHMI ITCI DRCT
ZBAT
MFUL
DRCS
ZBTC
DFLV
IHMI
ITCI
DRCT

Fig. 4.4. Reciprocating engine model based on IEC 61850-7-420

Some attacks are really simple; however, it may cause serious problems. For example, the DoS avoid the correct transmission of important data by overloading the communication network with useless data packets, which employ all the available bandwidth of the system. Additionally, servers can be constantly bombarded with false requests to interrupt the correct perform of the system.

Attack threats usually happen on weaker parts of the system, in this case, wireless networking, sensor nodes and communication protocols. Therefore, security in both cyber and physical parts of MGs need to be enforced in order to guarantee the continuity of power delivery, accuracy of sensors measurements and the veracity of the information of the electricity market.

The physical security many times is underestimated. However, once a malicious person has physical access to devices of a system it can cause the most security measures fail. Although this problem is more a social and organizational issue, it must be considered in MG communication infrastructure design. To physically secure the communication network, the access to main devices on the network should be controlled and restricted as much as possible.

Currently technologic solutions in cyber security issues are focus on three main aspects: privacy protection, encryption and authentication algorithms, and intrusion detection [26]. Also, several standards have been developed to improve the communication security in smart grids such as IEC 62351 and NISTIR 7628-1. These standards can be easily extended to the MGs field because it is highly related to smart grid concept

[17].

Most effective and widely used security solutions are encryption and authentication. Depending on the communication technology different options are available. For instance, the most common methods of security in Wi-Fi networks are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). WEP is a notoriously weak security standard. The password it uses can often be cracked in a few minutes with a basic laptop computer and widely available software tools. WEP was outdated in 2003 by WPA. It was a quick alternative to improve security over WEP. The current standard is WPA2 and uses an encryption device which secures the network with a 256 bit key.

ZigBee networks are secured by 128 bit symmetric encryption keys. The basic mechanism to ensure confidentiality is based in the initial installation of the keys, as well as in the processing of security information.

In the case of Ethernet TCP/IP, there is no a simple solution to improving the cyber security. It is a very complex task that cannot be solved by simply purchasing the latest technology. Instead, to implement a system that works with multiple layers of security could improve the protection. In this sense, to install multiple barriers or virtual walls around and within the network is the first step to reduce the probability of an

attack and also to limit its spread if one does occur. Next, most recent security patches and anti-virus updates must be guaranteed in all computer-based devices. Finally, the time to recover the system after any attack has to be minimized. Thus, system diagrams and back-up of the system configuration must be stored in a secure location to restart the system in the case of problems. Multiple security vendors have already begun to address the cyber security risks in TCP/IP by developing lines of specialized industrial firewall and virtual private network (VPN) solutions for TCP/IP-based SCADA networks. The VPN is a private communications network often used by companies or organizations for confidential communication through a public network such as internet. The VPNs can send data, for instance voice, data or video, or a combination of these media, through secured and encrypted private channels between two predefined points [27].

In GPRS systems the security mechanisms comprises the use of a smart card named Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) with pin code, a secret key, a unique permanent identity of the mobile user (IMSI), an authentication algorithm and a Temporary Mobile subscriber Identity (TMSI).

Particular solutions that use crypto-system to improve the MGs communication security can be found in the literature. For instance, the Simplicity Ti protocol developed by Texas Instruments and based on ZigBee technology, have been used by researchers in island mode MGs. In this work, the messages are encrypted by the XTEA key, which secures the communication [28].

In [29], an identity-based sign-cryption scheme was used for data encryption and authentication in an AMI network. In this scheme, both devices that want to communicate need to register at a key generation center to acquire their own private keys. The key generation center creates private keys for network devices by using a master key suitable for the entire system. To transmit a message, the source node calculates the public key of the destination node by means of their unique ID. Next, the source node encrypts the message with the unique key obtained from the destination node’s public key, and sends the encrypted data to the destination node. When the destination node receives the data, it will decrypt the message with its private key and confirm the exactness of the data by using the public key of the source node. However, the application of the previous cryptographic algorithm in MGs with high number of devices create a problem, it consist in the extra computational complexity required to manage the huge amount of keys [26]. In this sense, Identity-Based Encryption (IBE) [30], may be attractive for MGs since it do not need prior configuration for its deployment, instead, the identity (ID) of a device is used to generate unique keys. This allows easy deployment of low powered devices such as sensors because they may start sending secure messages without the need to contact a key server [17].

One of the most important data transmission services defined in the IEC 61850, is the Generic Object Oriented Substation Event (GOOSE). It is a fast communication service used to transfer time critical data such as substation events, commands and alarms, within power substation networks, the service achieve high speed because it is directly mapped to Ethernet frames, consequently, it can take advantage of high speed switched Ethernet and is capable of fulfilling timing requirements (messages need to be transmitted within 4 milliseconds). In IEC 61850, the encryption or other security measures which affect transmission rates are not acceptable. Therefore, authentication is the only security measure included. In this sense the publication of the IEC 62351-6 standard provides a mechanism that involves minimal computing requirements for digitally secure the messages, the implementation of the IEC 62351-6 MAC security mechanism has been reported in

[45].

4.6. Agents and Peer-to-Peer networks

The complexity of the distribution power network is becoming extremely complex due to the increment of distributed power generation, load and demand control, and liberalization of the electricity markets. In this scenario, each DG unit and controllable load or storage system must be provided of a controller with certain level of intelligence which permits them to handle local problems. Furthermore, all these controllers need to communicate with each other to coordinate and to reach the general objectives of the system. Under this perspective the multitude of autonomous parties involved can be seen as large community of agents which perform particular tasks to reach global goals.

An agent can be defined in a general way as an autonomous system which is located in an environment and is able to responds to changes in that environment. In order to accomplish its goals it perform based on information taken from the environment or from other agents, even, often it is able to learn from previous experiences. When many cooperating agents exist in the environment, it is called a multi-agent system. The environment where the agent is located may be physical such as a MG and therefore observable through sensors, or it may be a virtual environment such as data sources, computing resources, and other agents, also observable through system calls, program invocation, and messaging. It is believed that in such system, the low-level autonomous performance of individual agents may lead to improve the behavior of the whole system [8], [31].

This approach allows grouping intelligent components of a determined system in a larger and smarter entity, sometimes called super-agent which also can interact with others super-agent to establish hierarchical agent societies at diverse levels of the whole infrastructure. This scheme represents an advanced form of distributed control where each hierarchical level has specific capabilities and functionalities [3]. The implementation of this scheme can improves the dynamic response of the whole system since actions to reduce the occurrence of failures and optimizations are executed locally [33].

Agents within a system can create virtual communication networks or overlay networks (often referred as peer-to-peer (P2P) networks) on the top of the physical network topology that allow to the agents exchange important state information directly using the logical overlay links (each link corresponds to a path through the underlying physical network). Evidently, the data is exchanged directly over the underlying network, but the overlays are used for indexing and peer discovery which make the P2P system independent of the implemented physical network topology.

The P2P networks rise as a solution to construct dynamics communication infrastructures, due to their scalability and self-organizing characteristic. Furthermore, they degrade gracefully in the presence of failures, restore automatically after a fault and can cope with dynamic environment [32].

The P2P networks are designed based on the functional equality of the affiliate nodes which can behave simultaneously as both "clients" and "servers" in the network. This model differs from the client/server model where communication is usually transmitted to and retrieved from a central server. A typical example of client/server model is a file transfer that uses the FTP service, which the clients initiate the transfer, and the servers satisfy these requests, in this scheme both programs perform distinct functions.

Considering the P2P nodes as agents that manage the components of a MG, the communication process can be described as follows: any intelligent agent that intent to join to the overlay network only must to know the current member which it is trying to contact. This member will permit links with other members with whom the new intelligent agent can perform a limited number of P2P connections. The choice of which members is able to connect is based on the semantic distance metric. This distance is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) which is a wide used method to describe and share data via the public Internet, as well as corporate networks. By means of XML descriptions the intelligent agents can exchange important information about its own state and also to provide a notion of the global environment in which it is operating. From this environmental knowledge an intelligent agent can deduce the best action to be taken to deal with sudden changes or failures in the local distribution grid. P2P communication can be achieved by means of open networks, such as the Internet, or dedicated communication lines, or a combination of these [33]. Fig. 4.5 depicts the linkage of MG components by means of a P2P network.

Based on how the nodes are linked to each other within the overlay network, how the resources are indexed and located and the degree of decentralization, the P2P networks can be classified as unstructured, structured and hybrid, the last correspond to a combination between the first two schemes [32]. Following, detailed description of each type is presented.

1. decentralized Fig 4.5 Peer-to-peer Network Purely unstructured In this type of network there is

1.

decentralized

Fig 4.5 Peer-to-peer Network

Purely

unstructured

In this type of network there is no a structure globally imposed on the overlay network, instead are formed by nodes that randomly form connections to each other. This type of networks is easy to build and allow for localized optimizations to different regions of the overlay. Also, due to all nodes of a P2P system can act at the same time as server as well as a client is highly robust against large numbers of peers joining and leaving the network, one example of this type of network is Gnutella network [34]. The query mechanism is executed hop-by-hop, each query from a peer is broadcasted to peers that are directly connected to the network, and these peers send the request to their direct connected peers up to the request is answered. The most typical query method comprises the broadcasting of the message to all the neighbors (hops) within certain Time-To-Live (TTL) value. Then, at each hop the value of the TTL is decremented, and when it reaches zero the message is dropped. When a file is found in a certain node, it initiates a direct out-of-network download, establishing a direct connection between the source and target node, see Fig. 4.6. The creation of loops is avoided by using the unique message identification.

the source and target node, see Fig. 4.6. The creation of loops is avoided by using

Fig. 4.6. Purely unstructured decentralized.

The main advantages of this type of system are the flexibility to build the network and robustness against the occurrence of faults of connection. It can be attributed to the absence of special point of failure. For that reason, the loss of a node or even a determined number of them can be easily managed by the system without serious consequences.

The principal limitations of unstructured networks come from the same absence of structure, which cause that if a node pretend to find a desired piece of data in the network, the search query must be flooded through the whole network to find as many peers as possible that share the data. This procedure makes the system slow due to the high amount of traffic in the network which also causes more CPU or memory use. Besides, these systems no guarantee high quality of service because does not ensure that search queries will always be resolved. Furthermore, the managing and predicting system behavior is hard because of the lack of a global view at the system level.

2.

decentralized

Purely

structured

These systems are similar to unstructured decentralized systems with the difference that the logical P2P topology is a structured topology such as ring, mesh, among others. These structured topologies are usually constructed using distributed hashing tables (DHT) techniques, which assign ownership of each file to a particular node or peer. The query in this system is also executed hop-by-hop through the structured topology; however, the number of hop that must be taken to locate a resource can be reduced due to the table that relates a determined resource with a holder. Then, the queries can be efficiently routed to the node with the desired resource. Furthermore, this method ensures that any node can efficiently search in the network for a resource, even if the resource is extremely rare. Examples of this type of system are Agora [35], Chord project [36], CAN [37] and Pastry [38]. The Fig. 4.7 shows a diagram of this type of P2P network.

and Pastry [38]. The Fig. 4.7 shows a diagram of this type of P2P network. Fig.

Fig. 4.7. Structured decentralized (Chord).

The main advantages include an improved and efficient query search, the systems have a deterministic search guarantee, are scalable, provide load balancing and the managing of the system is simple. However, the efficient handling of routed traffic through the network means that the nodes in a structured overlay must maintain lists of neighbors that satisfy specific criteria. This makes the system less robust in scenarios with a high rate of nodes that frequently joining and leaving the network. Furthermore, the system is more vulnerable under malicious attacks, due to their deterministic and structured architecture which constitute a cleavage point for attackers.

3.

indexing

Hybrid

systems

centralized

These systems results of a combination of P2P and client-server models. It can be divided in hybrid centralized indexing and hybrid decentralized indexing. The first include a central server that maintains directions of information about registered users in the network. In these systems each arriving node or peer needs to contact first to the server which include in the system the corresponding information, after that, other nodes only need to search the node`s address and the corresponding data than they want from the server. An example of this type of system is Napster

[39].

Fig. 4.8 shows a hybrid centralized indexing system, is easy to verify that all nodes of the community are connect to a centralized server, which have stored all information regarding location and usage of resources. When a node has a request, the central index will match the request with the best node in its directory that matches the request. The best matching depend on user’s needs, which could be the cheapest, fastest, nearest, or most available. Once the matching is performed the data exchange will happen directly between the two nodes.

data exchange will happen directly between the two nodes. Fig. 4.8 Hybrid centralized indexing. Currently, hybrid

Fig. 4.8 Hybrid centralized indexing.

Currently, hybrid models have better performance than either pure unstructured networks or pure structured networks because certain functions, such as searching requires a centralized functionality and also benefit from the decentralized aggregation of nodes provided by unstructured networks.

Other advantages of this type of system include the simple and easy procedures to be deployed. These systems are quick and efficient for routing or query search, also the managing is easy.

The main disadvantages include that these systems are vulnerable to malicious attacks, mainly due to they have a single point of failure concentrated in the central server. Furthermore, these systems have bad scalability and less flexibility.

4.

indexing

Hybrid

decentralized

These systems are composed by several nodes that possess remarkable characteristics such as sufficient bandwidth and good processing capacity which make them eligible to perform like a super- node. These super-nodes are central servers that maintain the central indexes for the information shared by local nodes connected to them, also, collect users to the system and facilitate the node discovery process. In this configuration every basic node is connected to a super-node which it belongs. When a search for a specific data is issued by node A, the lookup message will follow the path from a super-node of node A to all super-nodes, the operation will repeat until success or until all paths are completely searched. Like hybrid centralized indexing system, the data exchange is performed between two node clients, see Fig. 4.9. An example of this type of network is Kazaa network [40].

These systems are quick and efficient for search query, have less traffic on message exchanging and are scalable. Also, the load of processing is divided by the number of super-nodes which process only a part of the whole information traffic. In these type of systems if one or more super-nodes go down, the nodes connected to them can open new connections with others, and the network can continue the operation. It means that after super-nodes go down, the other peers can become super- nodes themselves making the system flexible and robust against faults.

The super-nodes represent one of the most vulnerable points of these systems and represent the principal objective of malicious attacks. Furthermore, these systems are expensive and present slower information discovery.

are expensive and present slower information discovery. Fig. 4.9. Hybrid decentralized indexing The P2P network

Fig. 4.9. Hybrid decentralized indexing

The P2P network also needs to periodically check for modifications, because some entities or links may appear, disappear or re-appear due to functional behavior like wind or sun condition in the case of MG application. Also, due to electrical faults (short-circuits) or controller breakdown the structure of the whole

system could change. To periodically exchange status data among all devices is possible to use primitive data dissemination resources like Gossiping. It is performed with a randomly selected neighbor in the P2P network

and so on, in this way, the news spreads in the network [32], [41]. Using this basic communication resource,

some important functions can be implemented in MGs that use overlay networks. One of these functions could be the distributed averaging. It consists in to obtain a general network average value based on individual nodes values. Such distributed averaging algorithm can be used in MGs applications to maintain voltage and frequency values within normal range which correspond to the main function of secondary control. The application of a P2P network as MG information infrastructure has been reported in [41]. In this work, the DER units perform data exchange and distributed control by means of agora overlay network.

4.7. Concluding remarks

The successful implementation of MGs will contribute to enhance the efficiency, reliability, resiliency, and

sustainability of the electric power system. Certainly, a dedicated communication network infrastructure is

needed to coordinate all the conventional and novel control actions under various system operating conditions.

The communication infrastructure, technologies and protocols that shall be used on this type of autonomous

power networks are still an open research topics. However, current investigations agree that the communications infrastructure must to support differentiated services to accommodate the variety of traffic patterns generated by the MG control actions. The latency periods and minimal impact of information packet losses must be guaranteed to avoid that the performance of centralized and distributed controllers degrades.

Different communication technologies can meet the diverse needs of information exchange inside and outside of the MGs. At present, most of the leading utilities around the world have already installed fibre-optic as backbone communication network. However, extending it to industries and homes is cost prohibitive. Instead, contemporary wireless and well known wired technologies seem enough to provide reliable data communication to the large number of new users such as smart meters, DG unit controllers, among other. The

use of wired technologies such as PLC allow sharing data among devices without the inconvenience of

running dedicated network cables which reduce the implementation cost. This technology has been used in

LV and MV electrical distributed system for long time, providing remote metering, load control and tele-

protection. Nowadays, it could be a good option to support HAN by using Ethernet over power adapters. The wireless technologies are fast and relatively easy to install and do not require major construction effort or structural modification in buildings. Therefore, they can be used in MGs application to reduce the cost of equipment, installation and maintenance.

Interoperability problems represent one of the most important technical tasks to be solved today in the MG implementation. Therefore, application of standardized framework such as the IEC 61850 will lead to widespread deployment and acceptance of MGs. The application of this type of standard guarantee that all interested parties can share and use efficiently the information generated in each MG component. Furthermore, having universal models reduce the impact of alteration and make the system independent of vendors.

The communication security is a very important issue for the MG applications. Communication networks that

constitute the MG communication infrastructure contain a large number of intelligent devices that need to be connected in large geographical areas. The links can be implemented by means of heterogeneous technologies

which increment the number of vulnerable points in the network. A single vulnerable network point can be used to spreads malicious attack to the whole network. Thus, privacy protection, encryption and authentication algorithms, and intrusion detection must be implemented to secure the data collection and information exchange.

P2P network can be useful for MG application because they can directly or indirectly interconnects all controller agents in the distribution grid. The purely structured decentralized and hybrid decentralized types could be of especial interest due to the reduced time required to accomplish the query-answer process.

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