On the use of LEO satellite constellation for active network management in power distribution networks

Qiang Yang, Javier Barria, David Laurenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The passive nature of power distribution networks has been changing to an active one in recent years as the number of small-scale Distributed Generators (DGs) connected to them rises. Recent research consensus is that current slow central network control based upon Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems is no longer sufficient and Distributed Network Operators (DNOs) are keen for novel management mechanisms coupled with advanced communication infrastructure to meet the emerging control challenges. In this paper, we address this issue from the communication perspective by exploiting the effectiveness of using a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network as the key component of the underlying communication infrastructure to support a recently suggested active network management solution in the UK - AURA-NMS. The key factors that would affect the communication performance over satellite links are discussed and an analytical LEO network model is presented. The delivery performance of several major data services for supporting the management solution is evaluated against a wide range of satellite link delay and loss conditions under both regular and emergency traffic scenarios through extensive simulation experiments. Our investigation demonstrates encouraging results which suggests that a LEO network can be a viable communication solution for managing the next-generation power energy networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1381
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • LEO constellation
  • power distribution networks
  • satellite


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