Scada systems in the world's tech order

Tim Haïdar


Scada systems bring with them huge benefits in performance and reliability - and nowhere are these two improvements required more than in the emerging countries of Asia.

With growing populations, booming industries and under-serviced populations, India and China must find improved ways to deliver power to their people.

Both are expected to rival established power markets like North America and Europe in their implementation of Scada systems in the not too distant future.

In research conducted by IQPC, over 70 percent of respondents said they believe China will be leading the way in the Scada field by 2020. Although in joint second place, North America and Europe received just over 30 percent of the vote. India garnered 17.3 percent.

Indian Opportunities

In 2009, ICSA India first entered the Scada market. Commenting at the time, Mr G Bala Reddy, CMD, said: "We believe that the Scada opportunity would be approximately Rs.2500 crores over the next three years, spent through RAPDRP for deployments throughout the distribution companies across the country.

"The need for Scada is also imminent for oil, gas and water sectors in the near future. The combined size of the opportunity is yet to be estimated but it is envisaged that huge spending would take place in the next three to five years in these sectors as well."

India's Ministry of Power is engaging with Scada systems as part of its Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP). Launched in July 2008, the scheme is intended to reduce Aggregate Technical and Commercial to 15 percent through up-grades of Sub Transmission and Distribution network and adoption of Information Technology.

Two years since entering the market, ICSA, in partnership with Chinese company Dongfang, was awarded an agreement worth Rs.139.79 crores from Tamil Nadu Generation & Distribution Corporation for the establishment of the first Scada/DMS projects in seven states under the RAPDRP.

With power consumption expected to rise significantly in India in the coming years, establishing well-managed systems which aid in the faster identification of faults, enhance the quality of power and ensure an early restoration of power in the event of a cut are essential.

Rajabahadur V Arcot, vice president and GM of ARC Advisory Group, highlighted: "The country needs to augment its existing generation capacity by around 600,000 – 700,000 MW in the next 15 years to satisfy growing demand for electric power."

This includes boosting the existing transmission and distribution system, which has a direct impact of the commercial viability of the country, which is primed for greater future success in the manufacturing industries.

Chinese Markets

PetroChina Company Limited has also been investing heavily in Scada systems, with three contracts with IT company Telvent valued at $3 million (£1.9 million).

Under the deal, signed last year, Scada technology is to be installed at the Hui-Yin crude oil pipeline and the Qin-Shen natural gas pipeline, both in northern China, and the Mo-Da crude oil pipeline, near the Russian border in eastern China.

Collectively, the three projects extend PetroChina's pipeline network by 1,600 kilometers, which will be controlled and monitored in real time using the Scada system.

The implementation of such systems is vital as China looks to meet growing energy demand within huge geographical boundaries. China is also set to be a huge market for smart grids, the development of which will impact on the implementation of Scada systems in the future.

However, operators must be mindful of the security risks which Scada systems bring with them, which are likely to increase as cybercriminals develop new ways of entering networks and targeting systems, like the Stuxnet virus which took control of industrial systems at a nuclear plant last year.

A number of other Asian countries also hold promise for Scada systems, with South East Asia, Japan, Australia and South Korea being identified in particular in the IQPC research. However, it is the large public projects of India and China which those in the industry are likely to be paying the greatest attention to.