Western Power Delivery Automation Conference 2008

The tenth Western Power Delivery Automation Conference was held from 6 April to 10 April, 2008 at the recently renovated Davenport hotel in the center of Spokane, WA. The conference was organized by Washington State University and is an annual event which focuses on the fast-changing issues of automation and control of electric power systems and substations. This two-and-a-half day conference is a gathering place for automation specialists interested in:

  • Network Protocols and Communications
  • Case Studies and Applications
  • Security
  • Control and Automation Logic
  • SCADA and Wide Area Measurements
  • Engineering and Project Management

The conference started with a keynote presentation by John Tengdin, OPUS Publishing, Life Fellow of IEEE. He talked about the fact that this year's program bears little resemblance to that of 1999 or 2000. This is mainly because during these few years Ethernet in substations and with it IEC 61850 have come of age. This is proven by the nine papers in the conference program that include those topics in their titles. The focus is on the use of standards that are having significant impact on the design of new substation and power delivery automation systems. This is very timely, as five new or updated IEEE substation related standards have been approved in just the last year. The changes to the "language" of substation engineers (IEEE C37.2 Device Function Numbers and Contact Designations), namely the introduction of the use of acronyms, were opposed by some engineers, but survived the working group ballot process.

The twenty papers selected by the program committee were presented during five sessions. This is one of the few conferences that give enough time for a detailed presentation, followed by questions and discussions between the audience and the presenting industry experts.

The papers presented at the conference not only introduced some new developments and applications, but also delivered valuable concepts and information related to retrofitting substations, selecting the right communications topology and improving the engineering process.

The location of the exhibition area right next to the conference sessions room allowed the participants to use the coffee breaks and the time after the end of the paper sessions to see demonstrations of the latest hardware and software tools exhibited by leading manufacturers in the field of power delivery automation and communication networking technology.

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