9

Distribution Automation

This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.

— Western Union internal memo, 1876

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

— Albert Einstein

9.1 Introduction

This is the fourth chapter in Part Two, Communication and Networking: The Enabler. The focus in this chapter is on the power distribution system and smart grid. In the past, much of the research and analysis had gone into the meatier systems of the power grid; namely, large, centralized power generators and the transmission system, which generated and carried bulk power. The distribution system, in the mean time, received relatively little attention, an appendage required to make the final transition to the end customer. However, the concept of the smart grid is breathing new life into the distribution system. Distributed and renewable generation at the customer premises, self-healing protection mechanisms, and DA are among the many ideas impacting the distribution system. From a communication perspective, the distribution system can cover the area of a small city. Thus, what are loosely termed as MANs are most applicable here. Several key parts related to the evolving distribution system are covered in other chapters. The basics of pre-smart-grid distribution were discussed in Chapter 4, while DG was discussed in Section 8.2. Also, AMI, which is communication ...

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