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Alstom and Cisco Combine Strengths to Develop Next-Generation Substation

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August 28, 2012

Alstom and Cisco Combine Strengths to Develop Next-Generation Substation

By Cheryl Kaften, TMCnet Contributor

Alstom Grid and Cisco (News - Alert) have signed a commercial and technology agreement to develop the next generation of digital substation solutions for electrical grids. This collaboration will leverage Paris-based Alstom's smart grid expertise in digital substation solutions with Silicon Valley-based Cisco's capabilities in connected grid solutions and Internet Protocol (IP) communication technologies. 

Together the two companies will create a new level of IP-based communication performance for integrated cyber security, distributed monitoring, and controls, using Cisco's ruggedized substation-grade Connected GridT routers and switches with communications and cyber-security functions, and  Alstom's cutting-edge DS AgileT control system for substation automation.

The benefits for electric utilities and substation operators will include:

  • Enhanced security in smart grid-enabled digital substations: The Alstom-Cisco solution will enable utility operators to detect and mitigate possible cyber attacks across the entire grid infrastructure. The digital substation architecture incorporates comprehensive security controls based on NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and IEC (News - Alert) (International Electrotechnical Commission) recommendations.
  • Operational efficiency through optimized automation architecture: This layered architectural approach provides optimal deployment for substation automation. Communication infrastructure can easily be integrated with the critical protection and control, asset monitoring and grid management equipment. The intelligence within the validated digital substation schemes will facilitate close monitoring of the load capacity of plant equipment— and allow operation of grid equipment closer to its limits. What’s more, the substation network will support existing and new communication standards, such as IEC 61850, and will prioritize control data traffic over non-operations data traffic.
  • Reduced operations and maintenance costs: The joint digital substation solution, based on Cisco's multi-service network and Alstom's next-generation intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), will offer utilities the flexibility to deploy multiple applications—and support both wired and wireless communications—over a common network infrastructure. The solution also will provide intelligent systems that enable substation operators to monitor and control all substation assets, in the interest of optimizing operational costs.


Patrick Plas, senior vice-president, Grid Power and Automation, at Alstom Grid commented, "This partnership between Alstom and Cisco brings our digital substation offering to yet another level of performance and reliability for our customers. We very much look forward to implementing its next steps and move towards the commercial roll-out of the solutions." "Cisco has always recognized the need to develop sustainable partnerships in the effort to achieve a smarter grid. Cisco's collaboration with Alstom brings together two sets of complementary technologies that will allow our joint customers to secure their operations, achieve cost savings and extract greater value from existing technology infrastructure," remarked Lionel Chocron, vice-president and general manager, Connected Energy Networks, Cisco.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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