Network JulyAugust 2018

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NETWORK / 34 / JULY/AUGUST 2018 T he world's power system is in a period of unprecedented change, creating a number of chal- lenges which drive the need for grid transformation at all voltage levels. One of the biggest changes is the shi from fossil-fuelled power plants to renewable energy sources, which are not usually located near the biggest consumption centres. At the same time, grid operators face the challenge of upgrading aging infrastructure, protecting against cyber security threats, and responding to business model disruption from deregula - tion and new market designs. Operators also need to take new steps to ensure reliability and quality of supply (for example to meet regulatory requirements), and to enhance customer expe - rience. These changes are creating an increasingly complex envi- ronment in which generation is shiing from bulk, centralised and well controlled power plants to numerous distributed, weather-dependent, volatile energy sources, with multi- directional flows. There is also continuing reduction in natural inertia in the system. Load profiles are moving from being deterministic and well defined to become more volatile, oen with complex power flows. New loading pat - terns are being driven by the emergence of roof-top solar, bat- teries and e-mobility 'behind the meter', while power electronics interfaces affect power quality. This creates a high degree of dynamicity in the grid, which DIGITALISATION means that grid operators have to intervene and regulate and adapt to demand at all volt- age levels. Operators must move from operations based on historical experience with load-following control to opera - tions that integrate grid edge technologies, based on real-time data. Meeting these demands requires more intelligent man - agement of supply and demand – requiring new digital tech- nologies that can harness the capabilities of cloud computing and artificial intelligence, along with higher bandwidth, higher speed communications and bet - ter sensors. Such digital solutions will help grid operators to make the necessary interventions more ef - ficiently and effectively, and re- duce their number, through the use of innovative solutions and automation. Advanced monitor- ing, communication and control systems are needed along the entire value chain – from gen- eration, through transmission and distribution, to storage and consumption of energy. Digital communications One key component of next- generation grids is the 'digital substation'. This incorporates digital communications via fibre optic cables, replacing traditional copper connections using analog signals. The digital substation also enables greater flexibility, availability and safety, while reducing cost, risk and environmental impact. The increasing amount of data avail - able from digital substations will enable more sophisticated monitoring, diagnostics, protec- tion and optimisation of assets. Through the Internet of Things (IoT), condition data can be collected in real time, around the clock. This data can be filtered and analysed using cloud-based soware to provide information about the condition of the components and improve maintenance. With such information, performance can be optimised and risk can Meeting grid challenges Adrian Timbus, technology and solutions manager, smart grids and renewables at ABB – discusses how digitalisation is supporting energy transformation. be reduced, which improves the efficiency and profitability of substations. In addition, connected asset lifecycle management (CALM) concept provided by ABB Abil- ity Ellipse system combines enterprise asset management (EAM), workforce management (WFM) and asset performance management (APM) to enable grid operators to optimise asset utilisation, cut maintenance costs and reduce equipment failures and system outages. CALM facilitates the orchestra - tion of priority, process and people across an organisation, enabling the management of physical assets across the entire asset lifecycle. Another area of interest is Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS), which – when connected to a Distribution Management Sys - tem – enable operators to keep the grid balanced while main- taining system reliability and power quality as the number of renewable generation connec- tions grows. DERMS soware helps operators deal with the increased complexity and vari- ability of loads, enabling them to manage the entire lifecycle of distributed energy resources, from registration to optimisa - tion. This technology can be ap- plied, for example, in virtual power plants (VPPs), which bring together many geographi- cally dispersed power genera- tors under central control and optimisation. Almost all genera- tion and storage technologies can form part of a VPP. Thou- sands of small individual units can be combined into a single VPP to gain the competitive advantage of a big player. As grid operators face a more complex environment, with the need to integrate new technolo - gies, new players and new ways of doing business, digitalisation represents perhaps the greatest opportunity to help ensure suc- cess – supporting operators' am- bitions in sustainability, quality of supply and cost management to deliver business goals. The ABB Ability Smart Transformer.

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