Hardware-in-the-loop testing supports grid modernization projects worldwide

The power system as we know it is evolving, and a corresponding evolution is taking place in the way that utilities and system operators model and test power system behaviour and equipment in order to enable a reliable and resilient grid. Real-time power system simulation and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing are increasingly involved in the success of grid modernization projects that accelerate the transition to the grid of the future.

HIL testing allows power system professionals to de-risk the integration of novel systems, anticipate and mitigate negative interactions, and optimize device performance by connecting real devices to a simulated network. It provides a depth of analysis and systems-level testing approach that are highly beneficial, and sometimes critical, in the modern power system. Inverter-based renewable energy resources, communication protocol-based protection and control, and other grid modernization technologies can give rise to vulnerabilities that conventional modelling and testing processes are often blind to. Real-time simulation and HIL allows engineers to anticipate these issues, preventing misoperation and negative interactions between devices which can result in outages or damaged equipment.

The RTDS Simulator is the industry standard for real-time power system simulation. HIL testing
with the RTDS Simulator has been applied by power system innovators worldwide to enable a secure global energy transition. The RTDS Simulator was used to test controls for the world’s longest High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) link as well as the world’s first HVDC link based on Modular Multilevel Converter (MMC) technology. In 2018, the technology was used to perform testing on the
first-ever travelling wave-based relays installed with trip outputs live to the breakers to protect a high voltage line. These are just a few examples of landmark projects. The RTDS Simulator is used for testing microgrid control systems, distribution automation equipment including intelligent switchgear, IEC 61850 substation automation, synchrophasor-based protection system testing, power electronics
control testing, inverter characterization, cybersecurity, and much more.

Case studies from leading utilities leveraging
real-time simulation and HIL