NTDC to build a secure, sustainable energy future for Pakistan with China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Hitachi ABB Power Grids

New power automation solution improves grid resilience, visibility, and renewables integration

Pakistan’s largest transmission company, National Transmission & Despatch Company Limited (NTDC), has awarded a consortium that includes China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and Hitachi ABB Power Grids1 a project to deliver an all-new Load Dispatch System (LDS) to support the country’s sustainable energy goals.

The LDS system will help to improve grid visibility and automation, enabling the seamless integration of renewables.

Pakistan is aiming to increase the contribution of renewable energy from four percent today to thirty percent by 2030. The intermittent nature of solar and wind energy production means that an increasing share of renewables requires greater observability, real-time monitoring, remote control and optimization of the power grid. The deployment of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ industry-leading supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) application, Network Manager, with its energy management and generation management capabilities, will facilitate efficient, secure and reliable grid operations.

To achieve this, the project team will deploy a SCADA Energy Management System (EMS) at NTDC’s national control center in Islamabad and at the back-up control center in Jamshoro. The system will connect the control centers with all the power plants and grid stations that are not currently monitored in real-time and will help build capacity for future stations and remote ends.

The project will also involve the installation of a new mission-critical communication network with a fiberoptic foundation and featuring a microwave network as back-up. This will help to ensure always-on connectivity and prevent outages resulting from disruptions in the communication network. It will also enable secure data transmission and increased protection from cyber threats through tele-protection and near real-time encryption of operational data and signals.

After the unbundling of WAPDA, NTDC was incorporated as a public limited company in November 1998. NTDC is backbone of the national power system in Pakistan and is the country’s largest transmission company. The company owns 220kV and 500kV grid stations and transmission lines and is preparing to welcome ultra-high voltage (765kV) and high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. 

“This hallmark project for NTDC, financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB), will open new horizons through automation and sustainable international best practices to achieve a safe and reliable grid,” said Engr. Azaz Ahmad, Managing Director, NTDC. He added, “The project will bring more visibility and control to NTDC’s operations, enhancing system stability and curtailing system collapse and blackouts incidents in future.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to support Pakistan’s giant leap toward a sustainable, carbon-neutral future,” said Massimo Danieli, Executive Vice President, Grid Automation, Hitachi ABB Power Grids. “The national LDS project is the culmination of several years of engagement with NTDC to understand its current and future needs and to deliver a project that is complex, geographically and technically,” he added.

“The current SCADA system does not cater to the ever-expanding network, and an upgrade is essential to efficiently manage the new generation capacity,” said He Wei, Deputy General Manager of Complete No.1 Plants Division of CMEC. “With the implementation of the SCADA Phase 3 system enhancement program, 4085KM of optical ground wire (OPGW) will be installed as the main communication channel alongside a microwave network serving the purpose of backup communication system to ensure control and command. CMEC as lead consortium partner, alongside Hitachi ABB Power Grids, will deliver a project that can be considered as a critical infrastructure project for its importance and requirement due to an increase in the demand and supply  for electricity,” he added.

When fully deployed, the LDS system will enable NTDC to operate their network within safe limits, despite rapid and significant shifts in the power produced. By enhancing the efficiency and capacity of the power network, the system will help reduce outages and balance the supply and demand for power.

The all-new LDS will provide key features including optimal power flow, load forecasting, and automatic generation control which will automate the process of deciding the most efficient use of power plants to meet the energy needs of the country. In addition, Hitachi ABB Power Grids will conduct extensive training and provide NTDC with the capability to maintain its own system and perform changes, such as adding new substations, through in-house engineering efforts.

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