Electrical Power & Protection

How to optimise power quality in critical applications

February 2019 Electrical Power & Protection

As global energy consumption continues to rise, energy is becoming more decentralised and decarbonised. While demand is estimated to increase by 70% through 2040, 50% of new energy generation capacity will be represented by solar and storage by 2030.

In answer to these trends, the way we manage energy is changing. Power distribution is becoming more digitised, aiding the transformation to smart buildings and factories. With more complex and sensitive loads and generation to manage, regulations and standards to comply with, and hidden opportunities to leverage, intelligent power systems are giving facility teams simpler ways of understanding their electrical systems that enable fast and effective decisions.

“The IIoT has now been fully extended to the facility infrastructure, with smarter devices being connected to software systems and the cloud,” says Preshlen Chetty, offer manager power solutions at Schneider Electric. “It is estimated that the total number of connected devices across all categories of smart buildings will reach over 10 billion by 2021. Similarly, power distribution has evolved to include a network of connected products with embedded intelligence.”

Digital tools enable faster response

It has become increasingly challenging to optimise power reliability, energy costs, and operational efficiency in critical power environments such as hospitals, data centres, airports, and manufacturing facilities. Addressing these challenges requires new digital tools designed specifically to enable faster response to opportunities and risks related to power system reliability and operations.

To keep up with this changing landscape, new kinds of power management tools are emerging that deliver connected intelligence to reveal every risk and opportunity, the highest possible metering accuracy for greater precision and certainty, modular, customisable platforms to adapt to changing needs and cybersecurity best practices to protect the power network.

“Embedded metering in smart equipment is cost-effective and convenient for basic monitoring applications such as energy usage,” says Chetty. “For more advanced applications, such as power quality monitoring and power event analysis advanced power quality meters are required.”

Smart equipment and power meters, designed to share their information with the other layers of the architecture such as edge control and cloud-hosted analytics, not only help to optimise power quality and reliability in critical power environments, but they also deliver the facility-wide energy consumption data needed to find energy waste, improve energy efficiency, and lower electricity costs.

“When choosing an energy meter, it is important that the product’s accuracy has been third-party verified and complies with all aspects of the accuracy standard. It should also offer on-board data logging and high-resolution metering,” adds Chetty. “The meter and system-level software must also provide a billing module configured to match the utility tariff schedule.

“Some of the newest advanced meters and power management systems also offer modular designs that enable adaptation to changing needs. They have also become more scalable, partially due to the trend in IoT-enabled communications. But advances in network configuration tools and database management are making it simpler to add devices and connections when and where required.”

Schneider Electric offers an advanced, accurate power quality meter, the PowerLogic ION9000 series. This newest addition to the EcoStruxure Power portfolio provides a complete power quality meter for critical power applications.

“The power quality meter of the future, the ION9000 provides future-proof adaptability, a precision platform, it is highly customisable, sets a new industry benchmark for accuracy, and has a complete power quality analysis tool right out of the box so it can immediately identify and help solve power system events,” concludes Chetty.

For more information contact Prisca Mashanda, Schneider Electric SA, +27 11 254 6400, prisca.mashanda@schneider-electric.com, www.schneider-electric.co.za


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