The utility distribution network brings new perspectives to energy management systems with the help of smart sensor technology.
FREMONT, CA: The power sector has been experiencing many latest developments that not only revive interest in research and development but also leads to important socio-economic and other non-tangible advantages for society as a whole. Smart grid, as an intelligent power generation, distribution, and control system, needs several communication systems to meet its requirements. The ability to communicate seamlessly across various networks and domains is an open issue which is yet to be adequately addressed in smart grid architectures. Increased awareness of the environmental impact and carbon footprint from all energy sources, including electricity generation, has provided impetus to renewable and alternate energy development and adoption. The second significant development that influences electrical power sector is the advent of energy system deregulation and the shift away from the vertically integrated utility business model.
The increase of smart grid is a boon not only for society as a whole, but for all those engaged in the power industry, their clients, and their many stakeholders. The primary feature of sensors is to obtain information on the substation yard from energy machineries such as transformers, circuit breakers, and energy lines. Wide frequency bandwidth, broad dynamic range, and high precision are the primary benefits of sensors. Also, these new sensors enable the implementation of surveillance and control.
Technological progression, sensor penetration, deployment of sophisticated protective devices, communications facility, computing, and level of automation deployed by distribution utilities differ widely across the world. The distribution network systems are undergoing a substantial shift from analog devices to digital. Moreover, in many distribution systems, it is hard to justify large investments in modernization and digital controls, owing to factors like customer density on circuits, circuit settings, and component age. Thus, there is a chance to improve the reliability and resilience of the distribution systems through the incorporation of advanced technologies.
The second generation of technology for distribution automation has been introduced very recently. Outage Management Systems (OMS) have been implemented over the previous decade, providing higher visibility in distribution circuits and supporting operators in making restoration choices. Some utilities have introduced sophisticated automation systems to find faults, isolate faulty sections, and restore the remaining sections to service automatically. These systems are typically cost-effective, similar to first-generation automation systems, only in regions with elevated client density per mile of line and on overhead lines with exposure to environmental circumstances that decrease reliability and impair recovery. However, it is unlikely that these second-generation technologies are deployed in lower density rural areas, as the potential benefits do not typically justify the increased costs.
Compared to transmission systems, which have a greater deployment of sensors, therefore provide operators with a much stronger awareness of system behavior and operation, and often local distribution utilities only track circuit breaker status and evaluate feeder current and voltage as they leave the substation and not at other places on the circuit. Although this surveillance level is unusual, some utilities started installing automation sensing and fault current indicators on feeders themselves. Most distribution utilities, therefore, continue to depend on client calls to help locate faults. Utilities without a distribution substation SCADA use client calls in the most rudimentary instances to report outages and restore and repair immediate service.
The combination of high precision voltage sensors in the distribution scheme allows utilities to satisfy these reliability and power quality requirements efficiently, offering the information required to make critical grid choices and changes. The installation of metering class sensors on a recloser can help maximize the recloser's flexibility and implementation versatility. This enables utilities to improve grid reliability, resilience, and energy quality as well as decrease peak demand, losses in distribution lines, and carbon emissions.