SCADA – This acronym has been the heartbeat of the power industry before the ‘smart grid’ came into picture. Now, SCADA has become legacy concept. The new technologies are finding ways to interface with legacy SCADA to extract as much information as they can to know more about the functioning and performance of the target plant.
If you treat SCADA as a rudimentary system, it has to be beefed up in the following areas to convert it in to a smart grid: Data communication, intelligent alarm management, data volume, communication protocols, virtualization, etc.
However, SCADA can be used to manage plants, which run on both renewable and non-renewable resources. Based on your requirement, either you can combine or separate SCADA system for transmission and distribution. Although it allows one to operate it remotely, the problem with SCADA is that from security point of view when interfaced with Net, it can be easily hack able.
Across the world, process control systems for industrial processes are sold in two flavors: SCADA/PLC & DCS.
In a SCADA/PLC system, it the PLC [Programmable Logic Controllers] which is actually controlling the plant; SCADA provides the human interface. The modern DCS [Distributed Control System] is quite advanced compared to SCADA/PLC system since the former has both the plant control and human interfacing combined in one system.
In summary, if efficiency is the point of discussion, then DCS outshines SCADA/PLC in so many ways.