With an agenda to innovate, utilities are embracing new sensor techniques which help in reducing maintenance and operating costs.
FREMONT, CA: Technology designers are creating productive alternatives to optimize energy and resource efficiency while minimizing the potential for adverse effects on the environment. Everything is becoming sensor-tagged with the enhanced accessibility of cheap micro-sensor techniques. Energy and water utilities benefit from our infrastructure's sensorization and the related advances in intelligent technology. Opportunity Analysis of Power Generation Sensors and Smart Grids, a recent analysis of Frost & Sullivan's Sensors & Instrumentation Growth Partnership Subscription, shows that the power generation sensor market is expected to reach $7.37 billion by 2022. The Internet of Things (IoT) uses fuel sensors in smart grids to obtain and send data in real-time on multiple parameters such as asset quality, power transmission, and interference with energy usage. Sensor companies in these niche applications slowly realize the huge income potential of their products.
Sensors for Asset Performance
With operating costs rising, utilities are being pressured to reduce costs while finding new methods to reduce their effect on the environment and offer more customer-centric service. Managing asset efficiency is the main component of this equation. Low-cost, intelligent field sensors provide field-based real-time eyes, allowing utilities to proactively determine whether replacing or repairing an asset is essential before it breaks down. This determination requires an understanding of the condition and importance of that asset to the organization and is best achieved by aggregating all asset data, including work history and condition rating, into a single system, balancing the importance of one factor versus another, and updating any change in condition as it occurs. The utility, armed with this information in real-time, has a more accurate perspective of asset health and can make a more significant investment and work choices on how best to balance compliance, reliability, security, and risk.
Data sensing can be used for monitoring substations, transformers, underground lines, and overhead lines in the transmission and distribution portion of the smart grid. By using sensors to track real-time voltage, current, phase, and frequency data, transmission capacity can be improved by up to 10-15% compared to capacity scheduling models using static weather, wind, and temperature scenarios. Also, sensors can be used to minimize transmission loss by allowing the distribution capacitor to operate automatically based on the transformer's requirements. Sensors such as smart current/voltage sensors with communication capacity can return real-time current/voltage information to the feeder line so that it can distribute the present at a reduced voltage, enabling the available energy to be used more efficiently.
Data sensing in the customer premises offers a wide variety of possibilities for both customers and the public to maintain a healthy demand-response in the power grid even during peak hours. Data sensing in consumer premises can be conducted via smart meters that provide data on real-time energy usage and may regulate power consumption automatically or on the grounds of a predefined control system. Real-time utilization data will allow the public utility to comprehend the real-time demand and trends that can be used to improve the effectiveness of generation by enabling better load balancing or flow deviation from neighboring DERs.
Power plants are being modernized through the use of sensors for the second layer of automation. This enhances the energy efficiency, decreases hazards, and optimizes the operation of the entire plant. Wireless, non-intrusive sensors also had higher traction due to their ease of deployment.