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  • IPST & KIPE Conferences

    June 22, 2017

    Our Simulation Specialists are travelling to Korea for two upcoming conferences!

    IPST 2017

    Join us at IPST – the International Conference on Power Systems Transients, in Seoul from June 26th to 29th! We are proud to once again be the main sponsors of this event! Stop by our booth during exhibition hours for a demonstration of NovaCor, our new generation of simulation hardware! We are also participating in Technical Session 11B on Real-Time Simulation, taking place on Thursday, June 29th at 10:30am in the New Millennium Hall. Our simulation experts Hui Ding, Yi Zhang, Dinesh Gurusinghe, Dean Ouellette and Ali Dehkordi have all contributed to this technical session through multiple presentations.

    KIPE Summer Conference

    Our next stop is the Korean Institute of Power Electronics Summer Conference! This annual event is taking place July 4 – 6, 2017 at the Gyeongju Hanwha Resort in Gyeongbuk. Please stop by our booth during exhibition hours where our simulation expert, In-Kwon Park, will be demonstrating NovaCor and the GTFPGA unit, focusing on Power Electronics and STATCOM simulations.

    We hope to see you in Korea!

  • Hot Topic: GTNETx2 Modbus Protocol

    June 1, 2017

    New Modbus Protocol for the RTDS? Dinomite!

    Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex… These were some of the most famous dinosaurs that still roamed the earth when the Modbus protocol was originally introduced… Okay, maybe I am exaggerating just a little bit… But if you’re a strapping young lad such as myself, then Modbus was probably a little bit before your time.


    Modbus Protocol

    Originally introduced in the late-70s by Modicon, (14 years before the first Jurassic Park movie) Modbus was originally used to link other smart devices with PLCs. Since then, Modbus has become an open protocol which means that manufacturers are free to incorporate it into their equipment without having to pay royalties.  Having stood the test of time, Modbus is still widely used today with over 7 million Modbus nodes reported in North America and Europe alone. Modbus is often praised for its unrivaled simplicity, which is quite evident from the fact that its specification is only a mere 50 pages long!

    The Modbus protocol uses the familiar master/slave concept by which the designated master has full control over the communication bus. The master will record outputs and read inputs from each of the slaves who will only respond when requested too by the master. If no such request is made, then the slaves simply sit idle. Today, Modbus is commonly used in SCADA and system automation based applications to facilitate communication between a master station and a RTU. (Remote Terminal Unit)

    Previously, only the Modbus master station could be implemented within RSCAD software by using the scripting facility within Runtime. However, with the introduction of the new Modbus component and communication protocol for the GTNETx2, it is now possible to implement a Modbus slave within RSCAD software.


    The new ­Modbus component allows for Modbus communication over TCP/IP networks by using a GTNETx2 card configured with the Modbus protocol. More specifically, the component supports three different variants of the Modbus protocol, namely,

    1. Modbus TCP
    2. Modbus RTU over TCP, and
    3. Modbus ASCII over TCP

    This new functionality now allows users to interface and test an external Modbus master with the RTDS Simulator.

    Be sure to check out the new Modbus component and GTNETx2 protocol in the latest release of RSCAD! Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@rtds.com.

    Author: Christian Jegues
    May, 2017


  • A summary of the successful, information-packed RTDS ATC17

    May 31, 2017

    The first-ever RTDS Applications + Technology Conference (ATC) was a huge success. The event took place from May 16 to 19, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba – the birthplace and home of the RTDS Simulator. Over 3 and a half days, over 65 delegates shared their latest projects in real time power system simulation, participated in interactive workshops using the new generation of simulation hardware led by RTDS Technologies simulation experts, and enjoyed networking and social events.

    The ATC was information-packed, with over 20 user presentations throughout the conference. Topics included power hardware in the loop studies at several power systems research centres throughout North America, HVDC control scheme testing by utilities, wide area measurement system development and testing, and more. Presentation files are now available for RTDS Simulator users and can be accessed by logging in to the RTDS online client area.

    The conference took place shortly after the launch of the RTDS Simulator’s new generation of simulation hardware: NovaCor. Delegates got a closer look at the new, multicore processor-based technology and received several presentations from RTDS Technologies experts regarding the development and simulation capabilities of the new platform. Three hands-on simulation workshops run by simulation specialists demonstrated the NovaCor’s enhanced capabilities and allowed users to build and run their own cases. Workshop topics included grid modernization (Distribution Mode, microgrid and DER modelling, and PHIL simulation), small timestep modelling (fundamentals and VSC control system implementation), and protection and automation (GTFPGA-SV, GTNET-GSE, and RSCAD’s new protection and automation software suite).

    Browse the gallery below for some photos from the event. You’ll notice photos from our exciting conference networking dinner, which took place at the Investors Group Field – home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team! Delegates enjoyed some play time on the field with Bombers offensive coach Paul LaPolice and defensive back Moe Leggett before dinner in the gorgeous Pinnacle Club on site!

    Subscribe to our mailing list for information on upcoming events involving the RTDS Simulator.

  • Upcoming Events

    May 29, 2017

    RTDS has a busy summer schedule and we’d like to invite you to join us at our upcoming events!


    CIRED 2017
    June 12 – 15, 2017
    The Scottish Event Campus
    Glasgow, UK
    Booth D11

    Stop by our booth where our simulation specialists will be providing CHIL demonstrations with SEL’s real time automation controller in the loop with a microgrid model on the RTDS Simulator. We will also be showcasing NovaCor, our new generation of simulation hardware!

    Simulation Specialist, Melanie Dyck, will be presenting her paper “Real Time Simulation of Large Distribution Networks with Distributed Energy Resources” on June 14 during Session 3  of the Interactive Poster Session.

    PowerTech 2017
    June 18 – 22, 2017
    University of Manchester
    Booth 5

    Simulation Specialists will be on hand to demonstrate the new  CYME to RSCAD conversion, Distribution Mode, two standalone simulation cases for microgrids and an IEEE123 Node Test Feeder case. One of the standalone microgrid cases uses detailed converter models in the small time-step, while the other one uses average models to represent the converters.

    Kati Sidwall is participating in the Special Session (SS07): Current and Future Industry Needs and Trends on June 20, starting at 13:50, with her presentation on “Applications of Real Time Simulation for Energy Systems.”

    We will also be attending and exhibiting at the IPST conference in Seoul, South Korea June 26 – 29, followed by the KIPE Annual Summer Conference in Gyeongbuk, South Korea from July 4 – 6. We hope to see you there!

    Training Courses

    RTDS Simulator Introductory Training Course
    September 18 – 21, 2017

    Advanced Applications: IEC 61850 and GTNET Applications
    September 25 – 29, 2017

    Registration is now open!


  • Hot Topic: Automatic Generation Control

    May 1, 2017

    Automatic Generation Control

    In today’s world, we rely heavily on the power grid. Power is required for lighting up the streets as you drive home from a party at night. It is required to keep you safe and warm in your home while a winter storm passes by. We often take it for granted and expect there to be a reliable source of power at all times.

    Ideally, we want a power system that has a constant frequency while providing enough power to supply loads such as our homes, offices, hospitals and other facilities in the area. The load demand changes constantly as we turn on or off (or change) power to devices in an area. The power generation units must include necessary controls to ensure that the electrical power generation satisfies the load demand.

    AGC Theory

    With primary frequency control for the generating units, variation in load demand is satisfied at the expense of frequency. Figure 1a shows the block diagram of a two area system with primary frequency control. In the absence of secondary frequency control, the reference power given to the turbine (Pref) remains unchanged (i.e.: ∆Pref = 0).  The primary frequency control (or governor control) adjusts the turbine output by –∆f/R in response to a change in load demand, ∆P. When the load demand increases, the frequency decreases and vice versa.





    Figure 1: (a) Simplified representation of a two area network with primary frequency control (with ∆Pref = 0), and (b) Simplified AGC which adjusts Pref to satisfy load demand.

    Automatic Generation Control (AGC), shown in Figure 1b, is a secondary frequency control which has the following functions [1]:

    1.) AGC regulates the frequency of the system to its nominal value at steady state by changing the reference power to the turbine in order to supply dynamic load demand.

    2.) For multiple control areas, AGC regulates the tie line power, ∆Ptie, to its scheduled value to ensure that changes in the load demand of one control area does not affect the power transfer to other connected areas at steady state.

    3.) When there are multiple generating units in an area, AGC allocates the desired changes in Pref amongst the generating units that participate in secondary frequency control.  This is determined by performing an economic dispatch considering the cost of generation.

    Importance of real time simulation for AGC

    Real time simulation is a key component of system testing. Before a device, such as an AGC controller, is commissioned in a system, it is important to understand the behaviour of the system in real time to various contingencies and operating conditions. Using the RTDS simulator, the behaviour of the AGC to various changes in load demand can be effectively modelled.

    Simulation Results

    In this article, the two area network proposed in [1] is used as the base case to demonstrate the operation of AGC. This case demonstrates the AGC concept; however, no effort was made to optimize the controller parameters used in this case. The system response to an increase in load demand in area 1 from 967 MW to 1000 MW is shown in Figure 2a. A load decrease from 967 MW to 900 MW in area 1 is shown in Figure 2b. The plots in Figure 2 are obtained using the ‘MultiPlot’ feature available in RSCAD, which is the user interface of RTDS.

    Primary Frequency Control:
    The red curves in Figure 2a shows that for primary frequency control, the frequency (W1) decreases as a result of an increase in load demand and there is an undesirable steady state frequency error. In this case, the tie-line power is not regulated. The generators in both area 1 and area 2 have identical ratings. As a result, the tie-line power transferred to area 2 drops by ∆P /2 (which is 16.5MW) as shown by the red curve in Figure 2a.

    For a decrease in load demand, the frequency increases with a constant steady state error as shown in the red curve in Figure 2b. The results show that the tie-line power increases by 33.5MW (∆P /2 = 33.5MW) in response to the load change. Ideally, we do not want a load change in one area to affect the other area (i.e.: the tie-line power should be maintained constant at steady state).

    AGC without Tie-Line Power Control:

    Although the frequency changes during a transient due to the fast primary frequency control, the PI-control in AGC ensures that the steady state frequency settles to its nominal value, as shown by the green curves in Figure 2. Zero frequency error is possible due to the AGC which adjusts the reference power to the turbine in response to the change in load demand. It must be noted that the tie-line power is not regulated and changes in response to the load demand as described above.

    AGC with Tie-Line Power Control:

    AGC including tie-line power control, shown by the blue curves in Figure 2, regulates the system frequency at its nominal value to ensure the steady state frequency error is zero. During the transient, both areas respond to the change in load demand; however, with the tie-line power control, the steady state tie-line power is regulated at its scheduled value. Although interconnection of areas improves the stability of power system, a constant tie-line power is desired at steady state.


    (a) Increase Load demand in area 1 from 967MW to 1000MW


    (b) Decrease in load demand in area 1 from 967MW to 900MW

    To obtain an example RTDS case that demonstrates the operation of AGC on the Two Area Network, please contact: udeesha@rtds.com.

    Author: Udeesha Samarasekera
    April, 2017


    [1] P. Kundur, “Control of Active and Reactive Power”, in Power System Stability and Control, Mc-Graw Hill, 1994