Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line – FAA Obstruction Light Monitoring & Radar Control
The Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line has about 30 structures in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that required FAA obstruction lights. The utility has approximately 20 other FAA lights on transmission lines situated around its geographical territory. More than half of the sites are powered by solar panels. The scope of the project required:
- Cyber Security - Compliance with NERC-CIP security requirements and the flexibility to support changes in the security ecosystem over time. Remote site specification of ESP (Electronic Security Perimeter) and introduction of EAP (Electronic Access Point).
- Single, Open, End-to-End Platform
- Consolidation – All lights needed to be consolidated onto a single open platform that was capable of monitoring light health, power health (solar power supply, AC power, battery health, temperature, fans, etc.) and to monitor telecommunications.
- Utility Standard – The platform was to become part of the utility’s standard for adding FAA and other sites to their portfolio.
- Scalability - the ability to start with a few sites and expand to many sites over time using different communications mediums (trunk voice, fiber, cellular, 900MHz, etc.) and/or protocols (DNP, Modbus, etc.). Ability to accommodate any device from any manufacturer.
- Reporting – Analytics with the ability to send alarms to utility personnel.
- Secure Engineering Access to SCADA Screens – The ability for authorized Engineering, Management and or Field Personnel to log in on their computers and securely view SCADA screens (view only, no controls), navigate between screens and to write SQL reports for data analysis.
- Radar Control for Light ON/OFF
- The ability to keep the FAA Lights off when no aircraft are in the vicinity of the structures. If aircraft approach the structures, the system would turn the lights on almost instantly.
- If the radar or connectivity should fail, a failsafe mechanism would cause the lights to stay on.
- BES Upgrade Capability - Looking into the future, the platform needed to have the capability to be upgraded so that it could comply with BES (Bulk Electric System) requirements.
There are four groups of towers with FAA Obstruction Lights on the Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line. Three groups have a population of lights that need monitoring/control, while one group needs monitoring only. Each group of lights has an OPGW fiber splice point for data backhaul (OPGW splice points are not available at every tower). A decision was made to use the OPGW fiber for communication to the appropriate splice point “Gateway” and then route the data wirelessly using unlicensed 900MHz to the individual towers. Verizon Cellular communications would be used temporarily (for about 18 months) until the fiber installation is complete. Additionally, DigitaLogic was required during the initial stages of the contract to host the system (for light failure & alarms) and to automatically send alarms to utility recipients via text and emails. The system was later installed on the utility’s premises with the data being sent via DNP to their system. During this phase, DigitaLogic continued to manage the system over a secure virtual private network (VPN).
In addition to the Susquehanna to Roseland Line, the utility has a growing number of other FAA obstruction lights that require monitoring (approximately 20 monitoring-only sites). The lights are supplied by TWR Lighting, Flash Technology, itl and Unimar, connected with I/Os and/or Modbus. Telecommunications include 3G and 4G cellular, fiber and 900 spread spectrum (900SS). In some areas where multiple FAA obstruction Lights are in the same vicinity, the sites are connected locally with 900SS and a single cellular connection is used for backhaul purposes. This reduces the recurring cellular costs.
IGIN-EFS provides the central technological connectivity platform that enabled each utility and vendor organization (project managers, construction crews, fiber installers, radar providers (DeTect), solar power vendor (Northern Reliability), UPS enclosures (Cleaveland Price), utility IT group, utility system management group, etc.) to follow their independent schedules asynchronously without worrying about the end-to-end connectivity.
- Cybersecurity - The system has 256 bit encryption, time authentication, signature authentication, pass-wording and other security features.
- Scalability – the ability to start with a few sites and expand to many sites over time using different communications mediums (trunk voice, fiber, cellular, 900MHz, etc.)
- Reliability – Fail-Safe applications to detect communication failure for unsolicited connectivity and to switch the lights on until end-to-end communications are re-established and aircraft leave the area. The Failsafe application asynchronously accommodates different communication environments (TCP/IP, Serial, Fiber, Wireless) and is able to automatically recover once end-to-end connectivity is re-established.
- Hosting – The ability for DigitaLogic to host the system.
- Email/text notification - The system and automatically notifies utility personnel of alarms via email and/or text.
- Logging & Advanced communication diagnostics – The diagnostics include detailed logging at the front end and remote site, reporting communication events, reliability statistics, health of power supply and many other parameters on a real-time basis. This information is provided in order to simplify trouble-shooting and maintaining a reliable real-time wireless/cellular system on a pro-active basis.
- The ability to keep up with changing technology without becoming obsolete.
- Ability to upload/download files (e.g. configuration, text, extended sequence of events, etc.) over narrowband or wideband channels.
- Single platform supporting all protocols, communication and connectivity options (Cellular, Wireless-Spread Spectrum, Fiber, Trunk Voice, etc.)
- Each Remote Site can report a large number of analogs and status points. IGIN is configured to only report specific points specified by the user.
- Broadcast control to multiple devices (e.g. On/off to group of FAA Tower Warning Lights, Timesync, Dormant, Restart, Unsolicited AI/DI configuration).
- Ability to communicate with any device from any lighting manufacturer (TWR Lighting, Flash Technology, itl and Unimar) and the solar power RTU (Red Lion via Modbus).