Sep 2017
Gas Transmission
Open Source SCADA Platform
Sep 2017
Jun 2018
National Grid Gas Transmission
Jeremy Hunns; Mark Brookes;
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Network Innovation Allowance
Electricity Transmission Networks
Historically, the SCADA systems on National Grid’s fleet of gas compressor stations have been designed and engineered independently on each site, which has resulted in differences between each site, despite the use of common design specification, commonality of plant equipment, configuration and operation across all sites. The SCADA systems have also generally been designed in conjunction with the control systems as a single package by the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) or system integrators which has resulted in the SCADA systems being over embedded with the control systems. This, coupled with aging firmware architecture, means that the existing SCADA system infrastructure across the compressor fleet, is proving operationally challenging for National Grid to meet its current needs.

The following SCADA system challenges have been identified and have been categorised under as key National Grids needs:

  • A common security and operating system solution across the compressor fleet.
  • Ability to perform independent SCADA systems and Control systems upgrades.
  • A common SCADA system strategy across the compressor fleet.

The Challenges

  • Maintaining the existing SCADA systems to meet the current legislative and governmental cyber security requirements is complex.
  • SCADA upgrades and other operational requirements are complex and costly across the existing SCADA systems.
  • New SCADA builds are costly due to repeated design activities that could become common design activities across all sites.
  • Existing SCADA Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) are exposed to human factor issues and do not fully comply with alarm management standards. .

Hence the two high level challenges, which are addressed by this project are:

  • Short Term (2-5 years) - Cyber Security and Obsolescence: Will provide an improved solution that meets the current and future security challenges and lowers the cost of addressing hardware obsolescence.
  • Long Term (>5 years) – Maintaining a consistent SCADA platform across the compressor fleet: Ensuring and maintaining a compliant cyber secure architecture and control system solution that can be deployed with minimised CAPEX and OPEX impact. Focus will be on a centrally managed vendor-neutral modular SCADA application owned and managed by National Grid for use to upgrade the existing control systems.

This innovation project seeks to design and develop a standard SCADA system using open source technology that removes the complexities and demonstrates reduced TOTEX costs currently associated with SCADA systems as well as being:
• Be fully compliant and aligned with National Grid’s cyber protocols.
• A common strategy / solution across National Grid’s compressor fleet.
• Upgradable / maintainable independently from control systems.
• A modular package.
• G/19 type approved that would be owned and managed by National Grid.
• Open source platform with National Grid retaining the intellectual property and independence from the OEM and system vendors.

The programme has been structured (via a Stage Gates) to ensure the respective benefits outlined below are demonstrated:
  • Development of a common system, which National Grid owns and manages. Any new projects or project modifications can then be managed centrally, reducing the cost for redevelopment for each subsequent SCADA project.
  • Reduced cost of development of new SCADA projects as they would be based on a common modular template.
  • Reduced cost of hardware and software licensing as the open source technology is the proposed software solution.
  • Reduced operator training cost and wider core knowledge across the fleet due to standardisation of firmware architecture.
  • System ownership and retained control over the system via an open source solution.
  • Reduced time on site to install and commission upgrades and new SCADA solutions.
  • Reduced reliance on specific vendors during the OPEX phase.