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FITNESS demonstrates a reduced outage and low risk approach to future substation monitoring, protection, automation, and control.  

This is enabling faster deployment, greater availability, improved safety and greater controllability with a reduced footprint and lower cost than conventional design. The solutions enabled by FITNESS facilitate reduced network costs and constraints, significantly benefitting GB customers.

The goal of FITNESS is to enable GB Transmission Owners (TOs) and Distribution Network Owners (DNOs) to apply a digital substation design approach to future load and non-load related investment after successful demonstration. Digital substations are based on concepts of standardisation and interoperability, and enable replacement of many kilometres of copper wiring with digital measurements over a cost-effective fibre communications network, and provide much greater flexibility in building, instrumenting, maintaining, modernising and controlling future substations.


April 2016 – March 2020

Project Status

In progress

Project Objectives

Project Objectives

  • Digital Communications - Digital substations are designed with digital communications over fibre optic links instead of analogue signals over copper wires from switchyard to control building. The method relies on the recent International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) 61850 9 2 ‘Process Bus’ standard (see Technical Description) for publishing digital Samples Values (SV). The project trials the fitness-for-purpose of the standard and interoperability of products and integrated systems designed to this standard.
  • Measurement - The process bus standard enables integration of smaller, lighter and higher quality sensors. The project is intended to prove that Net Conventional Instrument Transformers (NCIT) can be integrated with protection, monitoring and control, and that the data quality is sufficient to fulfil the functions of multiple conventional transformers, reducing footprint and using environmentally benign materials. Trials include substation NCITs fulfilling protection needs (with a voltage NCIT released in 2015), novel distributed sensors applicable to hybrid overhead/underground lines, trialled by remote and local measurements integrated using IEC 61850 9-2, and conventional transformers via merging units to achieve a practical roadmap for introducing the process bus architecture. 
  • Protection - Protection with only digital communications, and no analogue hardwiring, so that protection devices are smaller and can be replaced of reconfigured without any change to wiring to the switchyard, therefore avoiding circuit outages. The reliability and availability of protection in the new architecture in a live substation is a key outcome, as is the interoperability between multi-vendor protections based on IEC 61850-8-1 and 9-2 standards.
  • Control - Substation control processes applied in the IEC 61850-8-1 based substation design.
  • Substation management - the project intends to prove that multi-vendor equipment is interoperable and can be managed in an integrated system and is cyber secure.

The Benefits

The Benefits

  • Lower substation build and modernisation cost.
  • Reduced outage time and constraints.
  • Improved safety for both our customers and members of staff.
  • Reduced environmental impact.
  • Greater operational flexibility leading to more efficient use of assets.
  • The key benefits after successful completion of project FITNESS through future applications are:
  • 10% reduction of substation new-build and replacement costs.
  • 4-5% reduction of constraint payments through reduced outage requirements.
  • Carbon savings through reduction in constraints and reduced use of copper in substations.

Project Partners

Project Partners

Project Partners

ABB Ltd,  GE Ltd, Synaptec, Omicron Electronics.

Academic Partners

The University of Manchester.

Project Supporters


Reports & Documents