Prolucid Technologies for Distributed Generation Monitoring and Control

Lead Proponent: Prolucid Technologies Inc.
Location: Toronto, Ontario
ecoEII Contribution:  $2,850,000
Project Total:  $6,592,030

Project Background

In areas of Canada where significant amounts of renewable generation are being introduced to the grid, distribution system operators are already running into technical restrictions that prevent additional capacity from being grid connected. To increase the capacity available for distributed generation beyond the current limits, substations must be upgraded.  However, in some cases, short circuit capacity and/or minimum load requirements do not permit connection to the distribution system.  Moreover, expensive transfer trips are used to manage generation and provide protection to the substation and power lines.

In May 2011, Navigant published a report that identified the need for an embedded platform to be introduced into the market, in order to enable the connection of distributed generation capacity beyond the current limits.  In response, Prolucid partnered with a utility company and conceived the project “Prolucid Technologies for Distributed Generation Monitoring and Control” to demonstrate technologies that provide generators and grid operators with the ability to control and curtail generation, and monitor the state of the power grid in real-time.  The Project was awarded $2.85M from ecoEII, and an additional $880K from Ontario Ministry of Energy Smart Grid Fund.


Prolucid evolved and adapted its existing E2C Edge and E2C Cloud software frameworks.  E2C Edge permits real time monitoring, analytics, curtailment and control and was enhanced to include Power Quality Analyzer (PQA), Digital Fault Recorder (DFR), virtual Remote Terminal Unit (vRTU), as well as distributed microgrid control technology.  E2C Edge was also customized to use DNP3 exclusively for network communications.  DNP3 is the communications protocol used by the partner utility company and is the most commonly used protocol by North American utilities for SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) to meet IT and security requirements.  Furthermore, protocol conversion for several vendors whose hardware is in use by utilities was implemented, including National Instruments, Siemens, ABB, and SEL.  Prolucid’s E2C Edge framework is device manufacturer agnostic and can therefore be used across an existing platform of approved and legacy devices. 

Prolucid’s E2C Edge framework was further enhanced to incorporate a security solution, which meets or exceeds current (version 5) North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards, for deployment into an operational grid. The security enhancement includes cloud integration of monitoring and control systems.  NERC CIP v5 was adopted to ensure protection of utility power systems against cybersecurity compromises that could lead to misoperation or grid instability.  Prolucid contracted for an audit of E2C Edge framework by Southwest Research Institute to assess NERC CIP v5 compliance and ensure that asset monitoring did not introduce any threats to the integrity and security of the grid.

In addition, Prolucid developed a device monitoring analytics solution which involved customization of the E2C Cloud framework.  The first application of which was transformer monitoring.  E2C Cloud was also used to provide wide-scale monitoring of communications between legacy systems and new smart grid technologies being deployed to the grid.

Prolucid, with the partner utility company, installed E2C software frameworks at Exhibition Place and Strachan A substation in Toronto.  The sites were selected because of the age of their assets.  E2C Edge demonstrated its ability to provide real-time monitoring of legacy equipment that previously had little or no communication capabilities.  Data was collected and algorithms were developed to support curtailment and control of solar panel arrays and a wind turbine.

Benefits to Canada

E2C enables effective grid integration of renewable energy sources while maintaining grid stability and providing optimum power quality to customers.  Introduction of an embedded platform such as E2C facilitates the connection of distributed generation capacity beyond current limits in Ontario’s power system and other evolving power systems.

Next Steps

Prolucid intends to increase participation in the smart grid community, support the development of best practices that add intelligence to the grid, and engage with electrical distribution utilities that are pursuing grid modernization.

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