Analysis on technology and product innovation of automation in power sector
India is one of the largest electricity consumer bases in the world with its distribution sector caters to more than 200 million consumers having a connected load of about 400 GW. However, the country losses more than 23 per cent of the total power generated during electricity transmission and distribution (T&D). In this situation, adoption of advanced automation technologies can enhance the performance of entire distribution network while reducing the losses.
Automation’s role in power sectorBefore getting to know about the role of automation in power sector, it is important to have some contextual understanding of the electrical grid, and how it has evolved over the years. The traditional grid was pretty simple. It was unidirectional, with centralised power being generated mostly through conventional sources such as hydro and thermal, and then transmitted to load centres and consumers. With global stress on reducing the carbon footprint while targeting the respective country’s growth levels, the power generation is getting distributed with increased penetration of renewable energy. Thus, the evolving grid has new complexities, with multi-directional power flow, which by nature of harnessing renewable sources will be intermittent and unpredictable. Consumption trends are also changing with the new demands of industry, smart cities and urbanisation.
Sharing the task of automation in power sector Vijayan S R, Asst. Vice President, Technology and Business Development, Smart Grid, Smart Cities and Cyber Security, ABB Ltd says, “In today’s parlance the automation solutions implemented across the power system network is known as smart grid.” In this context, a smart grid can be understood as an evolved grid system that manages electricity demand in a sustainable, reliable and economic manner. It is built on advanced infrastructure and tuned to facilitate the integration of all involved in the entire power ecosystem – from generation to distribution and consumption. Smart grid technology is not a single technology, rather a collection of existing and emerging technologies working together. A smart grid is a combination of intelligent devices in the field like the transformers, circuit breakers etc. with sensors and powerful control systems with the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operation Technology (OT) for centralised monitoring and control. When properly implemented, these technologies will increase efficiency in production, transport and consumption, improve reliability and economic operation, integrate renewable power into the grid, and increase economic efficiency through electricity markets and consumer participation.The power generation industry is undergoing critical changes- vast unconventional gas stores, evolving ecological regulations and growing energy demand have led to increased investment in power plants. “The need of the hour in power generation sector is automation and smart grids. India is emerging as a preferred sourcing destination for automation products (such as electrical drives). It has an increased presence of IT and software vendors in the global SCADA market. There have been rising exports to APAC and Middle Eastern countries,” states Kanwaljeet Singh Kukreja, Sr. Manager – Marketing & Business Development, Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited while explaining about how automation has become important for power sector.
Latest in automationThere is a great deal of variation both within the power industry and outside it as to what exactly should be included under the idea of a smart grid. Ask a room full of utility professionals to define the term and one is likely to get a wide range of answers. Similarly, most consumers would likely associate smart meters or home automation with the concept of a smart grid, but there is much more to the picture. ABB takes an expansive view of the smart grid, defining it by its capabilities and operational characteristics rather than by the use of any particular technology. Deployment of smart grid technologies will occur over a long period of time and in phases, adding successive layers of functionality and capability onto existing equipment and systems. Technology is the key, but it is only a means to an end—the smart grid can and should be defined by broader characteristics.
Vijayan explains some examples of how smart technologies—and the practices they enable—can impact the operation and overall health of the grid include the following; Real-time situational awareness and analysis of the distribution system can drive improved system operational practices that will, in turn, improve reliability.
SCADA/DMS/OMS (distribution management systems/outage management systems) put more analysis and control functions in the hands of grid operators.
Fault location and isolation can speed recovery when outages do occur by allowing work crews to drastically narrow the search for a downed line.
Voltage control, through reactive power compensation and the broader application of power electronics, increases transmission capacity of existing lines and improves the resiliency of the power system as a whole.
Microgrid solutions for proper utilisation of distributed generation resources catering to a localised area.
Substation Automation (SA) and digital substations benefits utilities with reduced need for copper cabling resulting in material savings, shorter installation times, reduced space requirements, increased safety with digitised field data and lower maintenance requirements.
Smart meters and Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) allow utility customers to participate in time-of-use pricing programs and have greater control over their energy usage and costs.
The microgrid and AMI technologies enable implementation of demand response programs, which help in peak shaving (Demand peaks) by shifting the consumption pattern by voluntary participation by the consumers.
Schneider’s role in automation sector Urbanisation, industrialisation and digitisation continue to shape lives as new economies are built and established economies are rebuilt and transformed. At the same time, the quest for economic growth and development is straining the planet’s resources. Vision of Schneider Electric is to help its customers achieve more with less resources in a more connected, distributed and smart world and where the need for energy will continue to increase. Schneider Electric strives to help its customers achieve the most efficient and sustainable use of their resources, assets, processes and infrastructures with innovative technologies, solutions and services.
Speaking about the company’s role in automation sector Kukreja says, “Schneider Electric develops connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. The energy challenges are the same in all industries – the cost of energy is rising and sources are becoming scarce. Our energy management strategy seeks to addresses demand side options focusing on energy efficiency, supply side options that need to be safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly sourced from renewable power. Active energy management is important because this is where you fully realise your energy efficiency potential – and this is how you reap long-term savings benefits.” ABB’s contribution in automation sectorVijayan shares ABB’s contribution towards smart grid technology development long before the term was even coined and some of the examples are, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA): SCADA systems monitor and supervise thousands of measuring points in remote terminals on national and regional grids.
Digital substations: ABB’s substation automation systems are compliant with the IEC 61850 communication standard to assure interoperability with similar compliant products.
Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS): ABB’s WAMS collects information about grid conditions in real time at strategic locations.
ConclusionAutomation products have become essential part of the power sector. Due to its performance and latest innovation the demand has risen in the market. At present India needs uninterrupted power supply and to achieve this there is a need for qualitative automation products. Optimistically India is introducing innovative automation products to strengthen the power sector due to which the mission 24/7 power for all will be achieved.
————————Schneider Electric develops connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.
Kanwaljeet Singh Kukreja, Sr. Manager Marketing and Business Development, Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited.
—————–In today’s parlance the automation solutions implemented across the power system network is known as smart grid.
Vijayan S.R, Asst. Vice President Technology Head and Business DevelopmentSmart Grid, Smart Cities and Cyber Security
Analysis on technology and product innovation of automation in power sector