What Energy Companies Must Know about SCADA?

Applied Tech Review | Friday, April 29, 2022

SCADA is paving its way into all industries, including the energy industry, which is heavily adopting it.

Fremont, CA: An enterprise SCADA system collects data from all of a portfolio's solar photovoltaic (PV) plants and consolidates it into a single platform. This is in contrast to a site-level SCADA system, which collects data from individual solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.An enterprise SCADA system enables plant operators and owners to view all activity across their portfolio in a centralized location. Owners can quickly assess the performance of their whole fleet. Operators can concentrate on the portfolio as a whole rather than having to solve difficulties on each site platform. Monitoring and controlling a large number of sites becomes significantly easier when using an enterprise SCADA system.

To collect data from a remote solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, the enterprise SCADA system must establish a connection to the site-level SCADA system for the plant. Typically, this is accomplished through the use of one of three protocols—OPC-UA, DNP3, or Modbus TCP/IP. The most widely used interoperability protocol is OPC-UA, which is designed for safe LAN to WAN connections. It supports the usage of a security certificate and includes additional useful features like as timestamps and the ability to verify the quality of data.

On the hardware side, an enterprise SCADA program requires a server or platform to run on. This can be a server located in the operations center or a cloud-based service. Additionally, firewalls must be in place at the enterprise level and at each location. Firewalls establish a secure site-to-site connection over a VPN tunnel and filter out malicious Web traffic and threats. There are various enterprise SCADA software platforms available. SCADA software like as Ignition and GE CIMPLICITY are frequently utilized since they conveniently support the OPC-UA protocol.

Network security is critical for the protection of the energy infrastructure. Remote site connections to an enterprise SCADA system must be configured in such a way that their susceptibility is minimized. NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) establishes standards for secure network traffic delivery between power facilities. These guidelines should be followed by the IT department responsible for system configuration.

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