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Web Story Zurich, Switzerland 15-02-2021

3 min read

Hitachi ABB Power Grids helps Switzerland’s CKW operationalize its grid communication network

Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke (CKW), the largest energy service provider in central Switzerland, has chosen Hitachi ABB Power Grids to future proof its communication network, enabling seamless integration of electricity from a growing number of renewable energy sources across the country.

CKW supplies power to more than 200,000 customers, operating a power distribution network across parts of Switzerland and providing electricity and other services to residential, commercial, utility and municipal customers.

With a changing power generation mix and a growing base of consumers accessing new smart grid applications, CKW needed to enhance its grid communication network to ensure reliable operations and manage the transition to an increasingly distributed and decentralized grid.

The company was looking to invest in a highly reliable communication network that could cover legacy as well as new technology and at the same time meet its stringent cybersecurity requirements. Based on modern, packet-switched (MPLS-TP) networking technology, the new network needed to support legacy mission-critical applications but allow for upgrades to accommodate the bandwidth-intensive applications of the future – all in one box and at a low total cost of ownership.

Recognizing Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ technology leadership in utility communications, CKW contracted the company for the design and supply of its new mission-critical communications network based on the industry-leading FOX615 hybrid platform and the FOXMAN network management system.

“The FOX615 hybrid multiplexer ensures real-time performance and deterministic network behavior with a reduced total cost of ownership,” said Stefan Mattmann, Project Manager of the Grid Communication 2020+ project, at CKW. “Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ solution enables a reliable operational technology network and provides seamless migration from legacy to state-of-the-art technologies for all utility applications, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and teleprotection,” he added.

With testing completed, CKW’s network is now operational and ready to support new smart grid applications and next-generation customer services.

“Utilities today are facing two major challenges – complexities from distributed energy sources and growing cybersecurity threats,” said Claus Vetter, head of the Automation and Communication global product group within Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ Grid Automation business unit. “The collaboration with CKW highlights not only our strong product portfolio but also Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ expertise and ability to support increasingly challenging cybersecurity scenarios and guidelines.”

The FOX615-based network uniquely met CKW’s cybersecurity standards by offering a fully integrated encryption solution, covering even the time-critical signals. The solution offers improved runtimes, especially for protection applications based on optimized MPLS-TP technology and the Precision Time Protocol (PTP) as well as interoperability between conventional and modern protection applications.

CKW’s new network extends the use of existing communication technologies and at the same time allows the company to be ready for migration to packed switched communication, providing a future-proof solution, and preparing CKW for the opportunities of the coming decades