Centralize, virtualize, and digitalize Substations – The Software Defined Substation

Accurate information and flexibility are required to cope with the volatility in today’s energy network. High-quality, reliable, and real-time data is essential for enabling advanced applications and maximum utilization of actual grid capacity. A computer-based system sets the foundation for the process bus, where protection, automation and control applications are executed on a central redundant platform at the substation level.

About Grid to Great

Grid operators are facing hard challenges to keep up with the energy transition. We believe there is a need for a different approach to substation automation, one that uses less equipment and less manhours to implement and maintain. One that generates data on which operators can balance their highly dynamic grids. Something flexible, robust, and future proof.
Grid to Great has a strong heritage on automation systems for power substations. Grid to Great SASensor-systems have been installed worldwide including, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and China. Grid to Great is part of the Alliander group, parent company of Dutch DSO Liander, the largest grid operator in the Netherlands.

Initial situation

Network operators are challenged by the electrification of society and the increase of intermittent energy sources. Energy networks are becoming congested, and the supply and demand must be matched in real time. In addition to this, there is an increasing shortage of technical, human and financial resources and power to simply increase the capacity of the grid. These factors require a new approach of system operations driven by data. Redefining substation automation is something Grid to Great is having many years of experience with, and which is implemented operational at 200 substations in the world. Grid to Great’s new generation of products is fully based on the IEC 61850 standard. So, interoperable, and exchangeable with other products is guaranteed.


The fundament of the Software Defined Substation is the modular merging unit. Grid to Great’s products and services are unique building blocks for digitized, centralized, and virtualized substation automation. By providing super simple and easy to install sensors combined with highly intuitive virtualized Merging Unit software the basics are set for the software defined substation.

Welotec extends the solution with the Rugged Substation Automation PC for a fully software defined substation, which is specially made for power substations certified according to IEC 61850-3 and IEEE 1613. The software defined substation is a simple, affordable, and flexible way to implement IEC 61850 in process bus and station bus. In addition, virtualization of applications offers future extensible and upgradeable functionality, and the solution includes a state-of-the-art cyber security by design.

This new approach leads to a completely different set-up: no copper wiring, but fiber optics, no IED in every bay but centrally, or fully virtual IEDs on a server and the Welotec Rugged Substation Automation Computer (RSAPC).

Case Studie LocamationWelotec Rugged Substation Automation PC

The Welotec Rugged Substation Computer (RSAPC) brings the same reliability and robustness as traditional IEDs to the substation. So, grid operators can be confident that the platform is reliable enough for protection functions.
The system is designed for the most extreme environments and is certified to IEC 61850-3 and IEEE 1613 standards. With hardware-based security, it is also well protected as a platform against cyber-attacks.
With the extremely fast Xeon processor, many interfaces and flexible configuration options, the RSAPC is the perfect platform for the digitization of substations.