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Home » Industry Analysis » Smart, sustainable switchgear can turn utilities profitable

Smart, sustainable switchgear can turn utilities profitable

September 27, 2022 2:08 pm

Smart, sustainable switchgear can turn utilities profitable
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Switchgear is commonly found throughout electric utility transmission and distribution systems and in medium to large-sized commercial or industrial facilities. Standards for electrical switchgear are defined by IEEE/ IEC/ GB and IS in different geographies of the world. They are also determined based on applications like Oil and Gas (ATEX/ IECeX), Marine certification, and defence applications.

 Switchgear demand and trends with India’s energy transition
The switchgear market is expected to be driven by the demand for electricity generation. Electricity availability has become critical for economic development and poverty alleviation. Industrialisation and urbanisation necessitate a continuous electricity supply, and the reliability of the electrical supply is heavily dependent on the performance of the switchgear.

As a result, in the forecasted period, demand for switchgear is driven by demand for electricity generation. According to Vivek Yadav, Executive Vice President, Havells India, this further demonstrates that the switchgear market shift and the increasing adoption of IoT enabled smart switchgear to meet the requirements of higher energy efficiency and balanced power distribution.

Considering this need, Eaton talks about their commitment to sustainability, with a vision to improve the quality of life and the environment through innovative power management technologies and services. We strive to make our factories and facilities zero waste and landfill-free. Our entire product line is RoHS compliant.

In terms of our products, we are working on numerous innovations to reduce their environmental impact. This is exemplified by the Xiria medium voltage switchgear product family, which provides a long-term solution to significant current and future energy challenges.

Furthermore, Eaton emphasises that engineers, consultants, and asset managers should also consider the environmental impact of each component of their power network. When it comes to medium-voltage units, the switching and insulation methods are both critical.

In most cases, MV switchgear is housed in a metal-clad structure. MV switchgear used oil and air as a medium in the circuit breakers early in the twentieth century. In the late 1950s, technological advances led to the introduction of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) as an interruption medium and insulator, followed by vacuum circuit breakers shortly after.

As a gas-insulator, SF6 performed better and was thought to be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than the previously used oil. Because of possible operating conditions (extreme heat), leakage, and improper equipment disposal at the end of its life cycle, SF6 is now well known to pose a significant risk to both human health and the environment.

Unfortunately, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) with SF6 is still widely used worldwide. SF6 is one of the dangerous greenhouse gases identified by various climate change authorities. Fluorine gases, which were previously used in industries such as glass, shoes, tennis balls, and tyres, have been phased out.

The only industry that still uses SF6 is switchgear.

Products and solutions
The latest offering from Havells switchgear – St^Dx -is an intuitive, performancedriven, innovative protection device. Its indigenous smart design ensures userfriendliness and precise performance, enabling monitoring and controlling of the protection devices even from a remote location. This ensures utmost safety with preventive maintenance and results in minimum downtime. Further, ST^Dx capability to reflect realtime energy consumption with IOT-based metering devices facilitates energy conservation. These DINrail mountable devices can be installed with protection devices and communicate relevant data to the server.

This unique functionality of the ST^Dx range enhances operational efficiencies. Eaton is an intelligent power management company dedicated to improving the quality of life and protecting the environment for people everywhere. They are guided by our commitment to do business right, operate sustainably and help our customers manage power effectively today and well into the future. “By capitalising on the global growth trends of electrification and digitalisation, we’re accelerating the planet’s transition to renewable energy, helping to solve the world’s most urgent power management challenges, and doing what’s best for our stakeholders and all of society”, he adds.

 

Improving energy management and efficiency through switchgear
Switchgear can integrate seamlessly with building management systems, extending supervisory control and other enterpriselevel utility systems to control power flow and save energy. Compared to switchgear without digital capabilities, planned installations can result in nearly 30 per cent lower overall operational costs due to efficient monitoring.

Switchgears are generally classified as low-voltage, medium-voltage, and high-voltage based on their usage within the power generation, transmission, and distribution. Considering the evolution and ongoing trends, Vivek says, “Environment-friendly Sustainable energy is driving the integration of renewable energy into the grid, where smart switchgear is playing an essential role in meeting the requirements of a high level of energy efficiency and power distribution.

It is essential to have an intelligent switchgear power system as it facilitates the automatic regulation of incoming and outgoing power during peak load, the opening and closing of switches to maintain power load and gives a trigger for preventive maintenance.

Whereas Eaton explains that the right and appropriate technology to maintain and monitor our electrical networks with minimum downtime and quick and reliable protection is what we refer to in the current situation as “electrical switchgear.” It also refers to a centralised collection of circuit breakers, fuses, and switches (circuit protection devices) that protect, control, and isolate electrical equipment. The circuit protection devices are mounted on metal structures. These are metal clad, or metal enclosed with loss of service continuity LSC 2A or 2B with partition metal (PM) or insulation (PI) and tested to withstand short circuit, internal arc, and peak impulse voltage in the worst possible applications and conditions on the given network. A collection of one or more of these structures is called a switchgear line-up or assembly, he adds.”

Smart internet of things (IoT)- ready switchgear solutions enable real-time monitoring, predictive diagnostics, and precise electrical fault protection. The most recent switchgear evolution also includes connectivity capabilities for data analytics and communication, making it an ideal solution for facilities striving for Industry 4.0 certification.

The adoption of smart switchgear will improve uptime, making modern businesses more competitive and limiting intervention costs. With advanced programming of load cycles and efficient energy management, it minimises energy wastage and improves efficiency and sustainability.

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