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Product Abstract

Technical and System Requirements for Advanced Distribution Automation

Product ID:1010915
Date Published:09-Jun-2004
Sector Name:Power Delivery & Utilization - Distribution & Utilization
Document Type:Technical Results
Price:No Charge

This Product is publicly available

   4.83 MB - Adobe PDF (.pdf)

Traditional distribution systems were designed to perform one function: distribute electrical energy to end-users. Advanced Distribution Automation (ADA) is a concept for a fully controllable and flexible distribution system that will facilitate the exchange of both electrical energy and information between participants and system components. This report presents background information on distribution automation technologies and develops a roadmap to achieve the ADA systems required for future power delivery systems.


ADA will be a revolutionary approach to managing and controlling distribution systems. It will achieve a fully controllable and automated distribution system, resulting in tremendous gains in system reliability, power quality, and efficiency. There are two critical components to the concept of ADA: an open communication architecture to facilitate the system monitoring and control functions of ADA and a redeveloped electrical architecture to enable an interoperable network of intelligent electronic devices. These two elements, working synergistically, will comprise the distribution system of the future.


To describe the vision for ADA and characterize its benefits for the power system of the future; to determine the system and technology requirements for realizing this ADA vision over the next 20 years; to identify research needed to develop ADA; to define EPRI's role in developing the technology.


The project team reviewed existing distribution automation programs and research initiatives from North American and international utilities, manufacturers, and research organizations. They consulted EPRI advisors, industry experts, literature, research organizations, and standards working group members, such as those involved in writing IEC and IEEE standards, to characterize the needs of the future system. The team reviewed research initiatives currently planned by EPRI and other research organizations relating to these needs and identified areas in which research could be coordinated. In cooperation with EPRI advisors and the EPRI project manager, the team developed preliminary timetables and estimates of research budget requirements for the various project areas.


The report outlines the current state of the art in distribution automation and develops a requirements definition for ADA. Significant development in a number of technology areas will be required to achieve the objectives and the vision of ADA. This report provides a roadmap for these development efforts, organized into five main research areas:

1. Distribution system topologies

2. Communication and information systems

3. Advanced technologies such as power electronics

4. Sensors and monitoring systems

5. Advanced protection and control systems

The report also addresses economic issues and evaluates the value proposition for ADA based on four categories of benefits:

1. The value of reliability and power quality

2. Improved operations and asset management

3. Reduced loses

4. Overall system energy management, reliability, and security

EPRI Perspective

The electric power distribution system faces a whole series of challenges and opportunities: aging systems, availability of improved distribution system technologies, demand for higher reliability, customer outage intolerance, industry restructuring, need for improved customer service options, and management of distributed generation. These forces set the stage for fundamental change in distribution system infrastructure. Recognizing the costs and benefits of this change and its importance to the nation's security and economic well-being, EPRI created the ADA Program to help the industry develop a more economical and effective distribution system. This report identifies the research needed to realize the ADA vision and explores ways in which stakeholders can collaborate to further the development process.

2004 Program  
  • Information Systems
  • Power Electronics
  • Power System Engineering
  • Research Planning
  • Advanced Delivery Systems
  • Distribution Automation

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