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Energy Central Power Perspectives™: The Journey from Conventional SCADA/DMS/OMS to ADMS in the Smart Grid Era, an Interview with Mohamed Abdelghany of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

image credit: Mohamed Abdelghany

The digital utility is not just a hyped up phrase or buzzword, it’s an idea that is truly transforming the utility industry across the globe. A key area of this transformation is in the thick of it all is a utility’s SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, system. Because the evolutions within SCADA systems are happening so rapidly, professionals working in this space more than ever need to stay in constant contact with each other to learn and understand what peers across the sector are doing. Soon, many of these experts will gather at the NextGen SCADA Global 2020 Conference in Berlin, Germany.

Among the can’t-miss presentations at this exciting conference will come the one from Mohamed Abdelghany, who is a specialist in SCADA for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Mohamed will be presenting his insights on the state of the sector and his lessons learned in a presentation titled “The Journey from Conventional SCADA/DMS/OMS to ADMS at Smart Grid and Information Era: Challenges, Opportunities, and Use Cases.”

As a treat ahead of next week’s conferences, Mohamed agreed to answer a few questions for Energy Central readers as a part of our Power Perspectives™ Interview series. If you’re attending, be sure to get more of these insights at his presentation. And if you were on the fence about whether or not to make the trip to Berlin, use this as further proof of the value you’ll gain at the event (though if you can’ t make it, I’m sure we can get Mohamed to answer some of your questions if you leave them in the comments below!)

Matt Chester: To get started, can you tell me a little about yourself and what your background in SCADA systems and the utility sector generally is? How is this a topic you got involved with?

Mohamed Abdelghany: I am a professional Senior Consultant in the fields of SCADA/EMS/DMS/OMS, IT/OT and SMART GRID systems with almost 35 years of experience in four different countries in the Middle East.

I have experience working as a client or a system vendor. I’ve worked for SIEMENS EA-Nurnberg for many projects in four different countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, as well as the head of SCADA and as a SCADA specialist for two significant and distinguished electric utilities, the Saudi Electricity Company (SE)C and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Currently, I am working for DEWA as a SCADA Specialist. My role is technical advisor for OT management in the field of control centers, managing a project for distribution control centers upgrade and enhancements for transmission control centers including SCADA, ADMS applications, OMS, smart grid integration, and cybersecurity.

In addition, I am a member of various committees and teams including the Smart Grid PMO, DEWA SG strategy update for the next five years, big data analytics, asset health center, and enterprise service bus ESB.

        

MC: On this topic at the NextGen SCADA Conference, you’re going to be speaking from a perspective of success that UAE, Dubai, and DEWA have jointly achieved. What do you think allowed for these entities to achieve success in an area where others had been struggling? Why were you able to be more successful more quickly?

MA: Actually, all governments who are trying not to be dependent on their natural resources and build diversified, resilient economies, they have to take lessons from UAE and Dubai. For example, Dubai has done a good job of branding itself to attract the foreign investment and labor needed to achieve its growth ambitions. Dubai offers business opportunities to enterprises of all sizes; in other words, it has a hospitable business climate. The city has recently become home to aspiring multinational companies and entrepreneurial activity. The service sector contributes considerably to Dubai's GDP and is the fastest growing industry, supplying electricity and water is one of the important cornerstones activities. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has maintained its first global ranking for the second consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all ‘Getting Electricity’ indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. 

 

MC: What are some of the downstream successes of achieving ADMS—do the customers notice any difference? Are you able to elevate security? What’s the main motivator towards success?

MA: DEWA is actively contributing to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world. To support this objective, DEWA developed a comprehensive strategy to implement a smart water and electricity infrastructure. One of the main pillars is to supply energy to customer with minimum power outages, and ADMS has come into play with the main role to decrease the customer minutes lost (CML). In this regard, DEWA achieved the lowest CML per year in the world of 2.39 compared with 15 minutes in Europe.

 

MC: It’s terrific that you take so quickly to sharing your success and lessons learned with peers across the industry—but what’s next for DEWA? What are you hoping to achieve in this space in the coming years?

MA: The smart grid is a key element in DEWA’s strategy to develop an advanced infrastructure to support Dubai becoming a smart city. Distribution automation is one of the programs building the smart grid strategy and implementing state-of-the-art ADMS is one of the main pillars of that program, which will include multiple functions and features to overcome and mitigate all challenges we are facing, such as DERMS, DRMS, AHC, ESB, BD&A.

 

MC: These conferences are always great opportunities to not only share your ideas and insights but also to learn from others. Are there any specific topics that you’re looking forward to learning about at the NextGen SCADA Conference? Any presentations (other than your own!) that you consider can’t-miss?

MA: Definitely, the conference is a great chance and opportunity the share knowledge with SMEs. I am interested to get value from the sessions related to cybersecurity, applying the new technologies like AI/ML, and big data in the field of SCADA, which is going to change the shape of SCADA systems in future.

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If you’re interested in hearing more about Mohamed’s insights into the future of SCADA, be sure to check out his presentation at the NextGen SCADA Global 2020 conference, taking place from January 27 to January 31 in Berlin. You can check out the agenda and register for the conference here.

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