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Home » Power Talk » Digitalisation has simplified operating practices in switchgear maintenance

Digitalisation has simplified operating practices in switchgear maintenance

February 11, 2023 2:15 pm

Digitalisation has simplified operating practices in switchgear maintenance
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Digital switchgear is meeting the industry’s need for bi-directional power flow to accommodate renewable energy sources in the network, says Ajithkumar Kesavan, Director – Sales, Lucy Electric.
How are switchgear innovating with the increasing demand for constant power?
The switchgear market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent by 2028. The rising energy demand to encourage rapid urbanisation and the new generation mix are expected to propel the switchgear market. The development of new industrial structures, including powerplants for safe and reliable operations, is further estimated to stimulate market growth. Growing standards to control overall carbon emissions and rising consumer awareness to adopt renewable energy like solar are anticipated to accelerate switchgear usage.
Gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) is expected to hold the maximum share of the global switchgear market. Due to its space optimisation, low maintenance, and protection against external elements, the demand for gas-insulated switchgear is expected to rise. The digital revolution is ongoing and has already taken significant steps in the energy segment, bringing immense opportunities and benefits.
Electrical distribution is expected to operate more efficiently and with greater flexibility thanks to innovation in digitisation, from generation to customer relationship management. By maximising the footprint of the switchgear in the substation room and making optimal use of the energy for switchgear operation, installing digital switchgear significantly improves operating efficiency.
As we continue this journey to a digitalised world where big data processing, cloud services, and data communication take giant leaps. It will be fascinating to see how we can make future electrical grids even brighter and provide digital opportunities to improve operations throughout the value chain.
How is the Indian switchgear industry faring in the global energy market?
Rapid population expansion, urbanisation, and industrialisation are raising the need for electricity. This will likely fuel the growth of the Indian switchgear industry. The fast improvement in the power distribution sector, owing to the increasing implementation of smart grids and smart meters under RDSS schemes, is the fundamental factor driving the growth of the Indian switchgear market. The infrastructure development schemes initiated by the Indian government, like Smart Cities, Make in India, Digital India, the Integrated Power Development Scheme, and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, have significantly contributed to the growth of the switchgear market in India.
India’s renewable energy potential is vast and untapped. India is one of the fastest-growing nations in the global renewable energy market. The country’s solar potential is more than 750 GW, and its wind potential is around 302 GW. According to the country’s 2047 energy security scenario, there may be approximately 410 GW of wind and 479 GW of solar PV installed capacity by that time. The renewable energy sector is anticipated to drive the growth of the power generation sector during the projection period.
Lucy Electric_EPR Magazine
What are the advantages of advanced switchgear that maintains voltage fluctuation and power supply performance?
Today’s switchgear is completely digitalised. Various governments and regulatory bodies encourage smarter measuring systems and greener standards for generation and consumption to use resources efficiently. These initiatives raise the demand for smarter distribution equipment to support its users, which is where digital switchgear comes in. Digital switchgear, with its outstanding communication capabilities, can play an integral part in complex systems of management and control.
Digital switchgear is meeting the industry’s need for bi-directional power flow to accommodate renewable energy sources in the network and adequately balance generation and consumption while maintaining a stable energy supply to its consumers. Changing load flows in the network is not a problem with digital switchgear; as the equipment allows, users can modify the switchgear to meet application requirements. This helps to protect the equipment in the network and the network itself better while safeguarding the network’s stability and the delivery of electricity to consumers.
Which maintenance activities are being followed to enhance the safety and reliability of switchgear?
Like any other major component of the high-voltage electrical network, switchgear also needs maintenance schedules for trouble-free operation during their life cycles. Maintenance covers a wide range of activities essential to keeping the switchgear in a ready condition and enabling it to perform its functions satisfactorily. The parts subject to normal wear and ageing should be serviced for the operations to be fully reliable.
Electrical switchgear is composed of passive and active components. Their role is to protect the electrical assets downstream, disconnect the circuit, and protect personnel in case of an arc flash event. Both the passive and active components require regular maintenance to ensure equipment integrity and proper mechanical and electrical functionality and optimise the equipment’s useful life. A regularly scheduled electrical system preventive maintenance programme is intended to detect, repair, or replace affected electrical components, parts, or equipment before they lead to catastrophic damages, significant power interruptions, or a loss of business functions.
It is crucial to optimise the life of electrical switchgear and maintain its reliability through infrared inspections. Also should be followed by recommended maintenance and reconditioning of the equipment, keeping good records and tracking trend performance, upgrading the equipment, outsourcing preventive maintenance via a long-term maintenance contract, utilising predictive maintenance tools, a scheduled short circuit analysis, and a time-current coordination study.
Lucy Electric_EPR Magazine
What policy changes and financial allocations do you expect in the union budget for 2023?
The previous budgets have supported the power sector with DISCOM-focused policies such as the Financial Restructuring Plan, Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana, and liquidity injection. However, over the past two decades, these have only been able to provide temporary relief. As of April 22, the $3 trillion RDSS scheme saw participation from 13 states, with proposals totalling 1.6 trillion submitted.
It is expected that in the Union Budget 2023, the central government will introduce policy changes providing incentive-based CAPEX, financial flexibility, supportive measures, and incentives to phase out structurally subsidised power.
An announcement regarding carbon market setup planning, which is already underway at the government level, can be expected, indicating the way forward. This will be especially important for the industrial sector, which must comply to save carbon emissions-related spending and align with ESG commitments. Overall speaking, support for RE capacity, incentives for meeting goals, stronger penalties for non-compliance, low-cost finance for transition-linked CAPEX, a carbon tax on coal-based plants and concrete, transparent policies for energy storage, and alternative fuels are a few factors that would need attention in policy changes in the upcoming budget.
For more details visit: https://www.lucyelectric.com/

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