How to Improve the Power Distribution Network Structure to Better Deal with Power Outages


In today's ever-changing energy landscape, power outages in power distribution networks can still cause disruptions to critical operations of enterprises, such as production processes, resulting in huge losses. In addition, some older grid equipment is still operating around the world, and in some areas, power storms are becoming more common. Faced with the serious challenge of power outages on the power distribution network, power companies can take a variety of methods to deal with the risk of future service interruptions, including modernizing the power distribution network, distributing the power distribution network, and hiring more line maintenance personnel. All of these approaches are complex and difficult to evaluate due to varying degrees of cost, technical risk, and societal benefit concerns.

The key measures that power companies have recently focused on are arranging, hiring, and training more line maintenance personnel to improve the power outage response of the power distribution network and provide better services to customers. But the aging workforce is a notoriously difficult problem in many parts of the world, making it increasingly difficult to find skilled labor to fill line staffing gaps. Utilities need better solutions to deal with extended outages on power distribution networks, customer dissatisfaction, and potential intervention. If the work efficiency of line personnel can be improved so that they can shorten the time spent searching for broken lines and allocate more time to actual repair work and high-priority maintenance tasks, the above problems will undoubtedly be greatly improved.


Power Distribution Network

Power Distribution Networks: Capturing Data at Grid Nodes is Key

In the past few years, long-term power outages occurred in many countries and regions simply because it was difficult to find the fault source. But how should utilities improve their power distribution network architecture to better respond to outages? The answer is to leverage more advanced line sensor technology to reduce system cost and deploy it to more nodes in the power infrastructure. This high level of technology integration helps to improve measurement accuracy, reduce power consumption, and reduce maintenance workload.

1. A node monitoring system known as a fault indicator

One of the most common application scenarios of the new line sensor is a node monitoring system called a fault indicator. When a power line fault occurs, it will detect and send an alarm, allowing line workers to repair the faulty equipment in the shortest possible time. Different regions and different suppliers give the system different names, such as line monitor, fault monitor, fault circuit indicator, etc. This article uses the general term fault indicator to refer to the system and line sensor to refer to the underlying technology used to detect the physical condition of the power line.

2. Line sensors that detect the physical state of power lines

In underground cable type fault indicator applications, the fault indicator is located at the cable termination of each main cable. Indicators upstream of the fault will trip, while indicators downstream of the fault will remain in the non-trip position. This allows service teams to easily locate the faulty part of the cable or device without going through a time-consuming fault isolation process. Applications for this underground cable type fault indicator include transformers, switchgear, cabinets, junction boxes, splices, and more.

In overhead fault indicator applications, a prominent display on the fault indicator directs line personnel to the problem area. Applications for this overhead fault indicator include unfused taps, long feeders with neutral reclosers, zoned switchgear, changeovers, feeders, and more.

Existing fault indicators face two major challenges:
2.1 The cost of bulk purchase is high;
2.2 Requires frequent maintenance to work properly. Power companies have limited budgets and resources. Faced with high cumulative procurement costs and a large amount of recurring maintenance work, it is often impossible to deploy more fault indicators in the huge power infrastructure.

3. Design of fault indicator for harvesting electric energy

The basic function of a fault indicator that collects electrical energy looks simple, but the design is quite complicated, especially the power architecture. Not only are there three independent power sources (power line sensor, rechargeable battery, and super capacitor), but there must be a control algorithm that balances changing supply conditions with changing load conditions - all designed to always work online . The key innovation is a new multi-power path design technique that enables faster system startup, lower power consumption and smoother operation. With better power management, batteries will be replaced less frequently, line crews will need to perform fewer system checks, and fault indicators will require less maintenance.

The new fault indicator design can also take advantage of more sophisticated data collection techniques and more robust wireless communications to improve performance. Collecting power line information through high-speed precision converters at data rates well above the power line frequency, they capture data with higher precision. Integrating wireless communications such as shortwave radio and the GSM protocol can also extend the range of these devices. Fault indicators can transmit data and report their status, so line crews spend less time searching for faults and more time troubleshooting them.

4. Report underground fault indicator status to aboveground personnel

Big data analysis made possible to achieve higher energy intelligence

Fault indicators using advanced line sensor technology present an opportunity for utilities to transform their operations. By collecting data at nodes with greater accuracy, better connectivity, and lower maintenance costs, utilities can identify and respond to outages more quickly and with greater confidence. Not only that, but there are many more possibilities worth considering. For example, all fault indicators in an entire area can provide historical data and alarms, which allows power companies to apply machine learning algorithms and big data analysis to improve the efficiency of line crews, reduce operating expenses, and achieve better performance. business performance.

Utility customers continue to experience prolonged outages due to the difficulty in locating the source of the problem. One solution to this dilemma is the wider adoption of fault indicators. However, today's fault indicators suffer from two major disadvantages: they are expensive to purchase in bulk and require regular maintenance.

New line sensor technology for fault indicators overcomes the above-mentioned challenges, enables high-efficiency power harvesting, and requires little maintenance. In the future, utilities can take advantage of the new generation of fault indicators to reduce outage time, lower operating expenses and happier customers.